Since electric vehicles started to really hit the mainstream market around 2015, car dealerships have been hesitant to push their sales. This has continued to today, with car dealers often advising against electric cars. The lack of sales has continued despite the government goal to shift a majority of the country’s auto sales to electric vehicles. President Biden has established a goal for at least two-thirds of all new cars sold in the United States to be electric vehicles by the year 2032. Other states have established their own goals as well; famously California has a goal of 100% of car sales to be electric by 2035.
With these goals in mind, they will struggle if car dealerships hesitate to sell electric cars.
Crazily enough, car sales were not always reliant on car dealerships. Prior to World War II, cars could be bought from department stores and gas stations right from the manufacturer. Dealerships were around but were much smaller in scale and typically family-owned businesses. After the war, laws began to pass to provide protections to dealerships in order to protect their sales, eliminating the possibility for manufacturers to provide direct sales.
Now, with cars only being sold at dealerships, auto manufacturers are reliant on salespeople to push their sales. In order for them to truly sell the vehicles, they have to be well versed in the vehicle they are selling. This is where many come to face issues. Car salespeople at dealerships are often not given proper training on electric vehicles and the technology behind them. That means that if a customer were to approach with questions on the vehicle, they would not be able to answer many of them that require any knowledge beyond the basic car details.
Since they want to avoid questions, dealers have been trying to instead redirect customer attention to gas powered cars.
Some dealerships have gone as far as to not even offer any electric vehicles. The Sierra Club, an environmental non-profit organization, conducted a survey in late 2022 and it showed that approximately 66% of dealerships did not have any electric vehicles for sale. This is entirely counterintuitive to the governmental goal of growing the electric car count in use. If dealerships do not start to have proper training done for these types of vehicles soon, they will lose car sales and push the environmental drive goal back exponentially.