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Fleet Evolution rejects new car dealers for poor EV handovers and lack of specialists

Fleet Evolution, the salary sacrifice and fleet management specialist, has said it now rejects 40% of the dealers that apply to join its network to fulfill vehicle orders and handovers because of a lack of specialist electric vehicle skills.

Andrew Leech, Fleet Evolution’s founder and managing director, believes those 40% of car retailers could do a far more effective job in tackling the ‘knowledge gap’ around electric cars that exists among new car buyers and prospective buyers, especially with regard to charging them.

Leech said car retailers are in a unique position to better educate new and prospective buyers about EVs, “but many are failing to meet their responsibilities”.

He said: “The overwhelming majority of these new EVs, either fleet or retail, were acquired through, and delivered by, UK new car retailers.

“As a result, they have a duty to instruct and educate buyers in how to use these new vehicles effectively, especially when it comes to charging them. 

“But many of them fall down in this key area.

“We currently reject nearly half of all dealers who apply to join our network because of a lack of EV specialists and poor handover processes.”

Key knowledge gap is on EV charging and quoted zero emissions range

A key area of concern is that of charging the new EV, be that at home or via the public network.

Leech said that in his experience, while many new car dealers may offer onsite charge points, “very few, in our experience”, show customers how to charge their vehicle or explain what type of charger is required and what the differing charge rates are.

Another issue Leech feels dealers typically “skirt around” is the range quoted by manufacturers.

Fleet Evolution’s experience based on handling many new EVs shows that actual range is often as much as 30% less than stated range.

Read our in-depth insight - Should dealers and OEMS leave EV charging to the experts?

Leech added: “This may not be disastrous on the surface as most EVs will have a range of 200 miles and our research shows that most drivers only need this level of range five times a year.

“But if you are expecting the range to be 250 miles based on information provided with your new car, it all adds to misleading expectations and fuels the range anxiety that drivers could suffer when they realise their new EV will not reach the expected mileage.

“As a result, many people’s first experience of living with an EV is a negative one, rather than what it should be which is entirely positive, and this could be harming adoption.”

Last year, Fleet Evolution reported a record 45% increase in orders for electric cars through its salary sacrifice schemes. It is expecting a similar increase in orders in 2023.

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If the marketplace in 2023 is steadily returning to relative normality, this normality now includes the drive to find customers for an increasing supply of electric vehicles, and the need to source used cars from all channels and market them carefully. And of course there are the desires to delight consumers with an omnichannel experience and to hold on to decent margins after a couple of years of strong profitability.

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