The electric vehicle (EV) market is fully charged. It’s been about twenty years in the making but from where we sit there is no turning back now.
We are seeing the proof in three areas.
First, despite record low gas prices EV demand is up by consumers and manufacturers are doubling down on their product development. In the past, we have seen upswings in SUVs when gas prices have fallen, remember the Hummer. This shows the current demand for the EV market is not just driven by consumer demand for lower gas costs, but also the satisfaction for helping the environment and the car itself is becoming fun to drive.
This leads to our second observation. The manufacturers have or are on the verge of breaking through on the technology that meets potential customers “buying zone” for both price, technology and comfortable driving distance before needing a charge. The Tesla despite its good looks and technology has been a wealthy person’s car with an average transaction price of $100k. Other early model electric vehicles simply failed to provide more than 50 miles of driving distance; this is changing now. Witness the GM Bolt, priced around $30,000 and with a driving distance of 200 miles. Combine that with the massive dealership and marketing network of GM, the EV is about to go mainstream.
Third, all manufacturers are getting in the game. The lead time for development of a car is several years but labels like BMW, Audi, Volvo, Mercedes have all arrived or will soon be here with their version in 2016, 2017 or 2018.
In 2015, local Connecticut dealers sold more EVs than ever before, particularly with help from Connecticut’s state rebate program. Programs like this and continued electric charger station build-out will help nurture this market, but we are not far from it driving off on its own.
The 270 locally-owned and independent owners of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association work within the auto franchise system that supports this EV market. As officers of CARA, we would welcome Tesla to equally participate in this franchise system that keeps jobs local, sells vehicles through local price competition, and protects the consumer when manufacturers have recalls.
The Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association (CARA) board includes Jeff Aiosa, Carriage House Mercedes, New London; Ken Crowley, Crowley Automotive, Bristol; Chip Gengras, Gengras Motors, East Hartford; Jonathan Larabee, Manchester Honda, Manchester; David Stevens, Stevens Ford, Milford, and; Meghan Scranton Wilson, Scranton Motors, Vernon. Learn more at DrivingCT.com
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