As the industry continues to struggle with plans to switch to electric vehicles, we’re seeing many executives say the dealer network is more than happy to participate. But it’s often juxtaposed with articles suggesting there’s resistance, usually whenever the metaphorical rubber meets the road. This month offers several high-end examples from the NADA Show 2022 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
While the best outcome would be an announcement by several dealer groups of what the actual cost of installing some of the latest chargers will be, some manufacturers believe it should be mandatory if they plan to sell EVs. Some showrooms have found that not all buildings are wired for the high loads that come with modern charging systems, which require additional financial investment that they do not count on. As auto dealers use product delays as leverage for unprecedented car pricing, it’s good to see them get a taste of their medicine. Or, if the cost of a newer installation is not guaranteed to be reflected on future window stickers.
from a recent report car news Highlights some NADA exchanges, providing anecdotes where dealers were caught off guard by the true cost of opening some stores. In one case, Orlando, Florida-based Starling Automotive Group said their estimates doubled when electricians wanted to install Level 3 chargers that produced 150-350kW of consumption. NADA event exchange has been reported, car news A follow-up interview was recently conducted to find out how things are going.
After the utility company explained that its buildings were not rated for the type of energy consumption required, the dealership group realized that installing the latest chargers would become more complicated. Starling said the company said it needed to upgrade building services before installing the chargers, doubling its original estimate to $220,000 for the new parking lot.
This is in addition to any downtime that occurs during installation, which can take over a year. But GM-focused Starling Automotive isn’t the only example of a dealership realizing the hidden costs of electric vehicles. car news Also came across a modern dealer in New Jersey with a similar problem:
“Rockland Electric said, ‘We have to give you more power,’ because we’re not getting enough from the street,” he told the NADA Show.
DeSilva’s son Mike is the co-owner and dealer manager of Liberty Hyundai. In a phone interview, he said dealers were “in a bind” paying for new, stronger power lines from the street to dealerships.
The utility is still “months” away from actual installation, Mike DeSilva said. He hopes dealers will be eligible for local financial incentives for installing EV chargers, but there is no guarantee.
Dealers decided to go ahead and submit applications to install chargers without waiting for a final decision on the incentives to avoid missing out on quotas for upcoming Hyundai electric vehicles, he said. DeSilva said they did not receive an official estimate, but were told the service upgrade would cost between $50,000 and $100,000, in addition to the cost of chargers and field work.
Similar to Starling, Hyundai dealers are concerned that the manufacturer will suspend the product if it cannot support electric vehicles as required. For now, this trend is limited to companies with the biggest commitments to electrification. But the assumption is that it will gradually become commonplace as more EVs hit the road. One of the best ways to demonstrate the charging speed of new battery-powered products is to plug them into a fast charger and show them to customers, reducing the range anxiety and concerns of driving downtime typically associated with electric vehicles. Opening them up to the public is also a sneaky way to convince people to frequent your parking lot, especially if the vehicles they’re driving aren’t from there.
Not all dealers will be affected equally. Stores that have upgraded their service centers over the past decade may have set up smoother Level 3 charger installations. Others will have to bite the bullet and spend some extra money to make sure they respect the code. Although one wonders, this complication hasn’t happened to anyone before electricians started showing up to lay the groundwork.
[Image: Michele Ursi/Shutterstock]
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