IAC Blog & Articles

BEV and PHEV are you charged and ready or left behind?

Posted On: September 28, 2021

PHEV, the illusive sale 


I will start this article by saying that it is based in Canada for governmental references, but can be applied worldwide.

In this article, we give a few tips and ideas  on how to capture and sell BEV models and talk a little about PHEV sales in your store. Dennis Desrosiers commented that 30,000 PHEV sold in a market of 2M vehicles in 2019 was pathetic, and that these vehicles will not make a significant impact on the Canadian market until approximately 2030. Although I agree, I feel that dealers have the ability to speed this up. Lets face it, targets of PHEV and BEV are not going away, they are becoming more the mainstream so lets embrace this.




Step 1: Be Ready!

Why did I pick be ready as the first tip? Because this is the most vital part of selling a PHEV and/or BEV. I walk into plenty of stores where their PHEV loaner or demo is not fully charged and ready to go. This means that the customer’s perception of the vehicle is that it is not going to be charged all the time and for PHEV vehicles it then becomes just a heavy, more expensive version of an existing model. I also see BEVs with very little range left and not ready for that new owner to experience.  One simple tip is to ensure there is no corrosion on the brakes from sitting, this is really audible on a PHEV/BEV. So keep them charged and driven!, we touch this point next.




Step 2: Staff knowledge

Sadly all too often I come across is that staff in dealers have no idea about the different hybrid technologies and any of the additional features that a PHEV or BEV can have vs a regular car.  For example, pre-heating and cooling without the need for remote start, silent use, HOV lanes just to mention a few. I would ask this question of your store; how many people in the store have experienced a PHEV on an extended test drive or overnight? Some of my clients have implemented an internal test drive program and are seeing an upswing in the PHEV traffic, why? Do they have better PHEVs? No, because they are talking about them.



Step 3: Extend the test drive

Those of you that have conducted the regular road test in a PHEV or BEV will agree that this becomes a very confusing affair and not all the unique features of the car can be demonstrated, or at least the ones that are going to change your customers “want” to a “need”. Understanding the customers needs and lifestyle prior to the test drive allows you to tailor the drive to these discussion points. I have driven these vehicles with literally hundreds of customers, both prospects and owners and from my experience they want different features and use their vehicle in different ways, and with different benefits to them. For example one customer loves his Hybrid because he gets the best parking at the office (Hybrid parking spot).

One other option is to book a second test drive that the customer can take on their own. This is used so that they can convince themselves that this is the right purchase, even if you drop the car off to them (Don’t empty the battery on the way though!). During this time you can take their car in for an appraisal so they come back to the store to collect their car or maybe not.



Step 4: Sell benefits of Hybrid, it’s a change for customers.

There really are far more benefits than drawbacks of owning a PHEV or BEV. Its not just about government grants for the customer, unfortunately it’s one of the sales points used by dealers, and one that was leant on heavily. First generations of PHEV that struggle to get 15Km out of a charge or BEVs that get just about 100Km were a little harder sell, but as battery and electric motor technology improves, we can get far longer out of the battery charge. In the newer vehicles we are fast approaching 100Kms for PHEV and over 400Km for BEV which is amazing, however, and this is the important part…it’s the same as step 1; plug the vehicle in! If a customer cannot plug the car in, it’s the same as having the best cell phone but never charging it. Everyone sees that you have a new shiny phone but it doesn’t really do anything useful. This is the main difference in PHEV and BEV; if a BEV is not plugged in, then you don’t go anywhere or your overnight roadtest is ruined because there is not enough range. In a PHEV you are dragging around a battery and electric motor with the internal combustion engine with a customer that is not likely to make the sale.



Step 5: Bums in seats.

With PHEV and BEV its simple, people don’t know what they are missing. If someone is not driving it, they are not experiencing it. The automotive industry is doing a great job a keeping this secret! Customer drive events and tech evenings are a great way to showcase these great technologies. If you are wanting to be ahead of the curve.



IAC offers a wide range of services relating to PHEV and BEV including facility design, consultancy for customer and service areas. In store coaching for sales and service teams on PHEV and BEV technology, including customer events such as test drive events and tech evenings.

Please call us for further details of how we can be of help +1 647 449 6311 or via e-mail greg@intautoconsulting.com