The EV Train – You’d Better Get On Board

The light you see at the end of the tunnel is the EV train, and it’s fast approaching. If you aren’t on-board, you’d better get on quick before that train runs you right over. 

A check of the headlines these days shows more and more stories about EVs, hybrids, and alt-fuels than ever before. And beyond traditional OEMs, there are many new players getting into the game. Predictions range wildly as to when EVs will become “fully mainstream” or at least a significant portion of the overall market (both commercial and retail). However, what almost everyone can agree on is that it’s going to happen in some form or another; and the reality is that the transition is already underway. 

Even though Ford Motor Company recently announced it will no longer jointly develop EVs with Rivian Automotive, that doesn’t mean Ford isn’t fully engaged in the EV game (plus still has a significant investment stake in Rivian by the way). As you know, Ford has really made a commitment to developing and scaling EV capacity, as demonstrated by the BlueOval City announcement this Fall, huge investments in battery production, as well as the success of new EV models, such as the F-150 Lightning and E-Transit. 

If you couple developments at Ford Motor Company with the desire of the current administration to push the transition to EVs – and further combine that with the recently signed infrastructure bill – it’s clear that EVs are going to be a big part of the future of the automotive landscape. As a FordPro or commercial department manager, now is definitely the time to make sure you’re getting into the EV game by building your knowledge. It’s your job to serve a customer base that will surely be looking for these types of vehicles going forward…this is a trend you simply cannot ignore.

So, what can you do to ensure you’re the dealership of choice for these EV (and hybrid or alt-fuel) business buyers?

  1. Get educated. Just like with ICE vehicles, your commercial customers want to shop with, and buy from, someone who knows the product. That means it’s important that you “know your stuff.” And with things changing so quickly, staying current is challenging.
  1. Subscribe to newsletters (daily, weekly) that have content about EV developments to help you stay on top of what’s happening. Here are two examples:
  2. Attend seminars/webinars on the topic. For example, if you missed the Work Truck Solutions Fall 2021 Commercial Vehicle Business Summit, which was centered around EVs, here’s a link to videos of sessions from the event. This might be a great place to get started.   
  3. Consider an EV section or page on your website. You already know that it’s critically important for commercial buyers to be able to easily find work trucks and vans on your site; having a commercial vehicle section (or separate site) leads to success. Similarly, many buyers today want to know more about EVs for their business use – since it’s rapidly emerging. Consider having relevant information about EVs on your site. It will help your customers gain the knowledge they need, establish you as a valued information source and keep you top of mind with them when they’re ready to buy.  Here is an example page:
  4. Promote EVs. This means highlighting EVs you have in stock, including the details your shoppers want, along with photos and prices. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised at how many don’t take the time to follow this advice; be set apart when it comes to photos, prices and details.
  5. Be EV aggressive – order EVs as often as you can – work with upfitters on which options are the best match for buyer use cases. Also look for alternative fuel and hybrid alternatives for the short term – get your customers thinking in the right direction to improve their total cost, and also their brand alignment with sustainability.

Be sure you stay “in the know” and follow best practices so you can serve your commercial customers in the EV/alt-fuel/hybrid space in the years that lie ahead. Odds are that doing so will help you stand out from the crowd and not get run over by that light at the end of the tunnel!