LAS VEGAS – The NADA and the Center for Sustainable Energy launch a sales training and certification program for dealership staff dedicated to improving the customer experience for electric-vehicle buyers.
The just-announced program acts on a broadly recognized need for dealerships to prepare for whole new categories of questions from EV buyers, like how much home charging costs.
The training program is called ElectrifIQ. It’s open to sales staff at all NADA member dealerships, the dealer association says. The program was launched during the NADA Show here.
NADA reports pricing is as follows: $199 for one person: $398 for two, or $495 per dealership rooftop.
The Center for Sustainable Energy is a nonprofit based in San Diego that develops, implements and promotes large-scale incentive programs for electric vehicles, EV chargers energy storage and solar.
The group already works with state dealer associations in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Oregon to provide EV training and resources, according to the announcement.
NADA says the training program is aimed at helping dealership staff answer questions such as, “Will an EV meet my driving needs? How long does it take to charge? How much does home charging cost? What is the total cost of EV ownership? Are incentives available to reduce costs?”
At business conferences on the sidelines of the NADA Show, the need for training came up often, in the context of getting ready to handle much greater volumes of electric vehicles. That is, training dealership staff who in turn can help educate buyers.
“Everybody knows the cost of gasoline where you live,” Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Cox Automotive, says at the recent Auto Team America Dealer/CEO/CFO Forum and Buy-Sell Summit
“But the price for electricity? It varies even more than gasoline. People don’t know what they’re getting charged per kilowatt-hour when they pull up to that charger,” Smoke says.
He adds that historically, dealerships have been “ill-equipped” to provide information that’s not directly tied to the vehicle sale.
Dealerships need to train up so they can handle “infrastructure anxiety,” says Robert Kurnick Jr., vice chairman of Penske Corp. and president of Penske Automotive Group, at the American Financial Services Association Vehicle Finance Conference.
“We have to do a little bit of training, and think how we’re selling these cars,” he says. “The customer is uncomfortable, not just with the range, but with the infrastructure. Solving that is a little bit difficult.”