The electrification of private transport is no longer an abstract notion, but a reality that our industry must prepare to embrace.
Like many representatives of the automotive aftermarket, we were at the Montreal Electric Vehicle Show last April. The strong presence of our companies, which traditionally provide maintenance services and parts for combustion engine vehicles, indicates their willingness to take this decisive step.
The major networks of mechanical workshops also presented to the general public their various training programmes, which will ensure that these businesses are in a position to respond to this new reality.
A new generation
Talking to visitors to the Show, I realise that this is a whole new generation of consumers. They are very well informed about the particularities of the electric cars they drive or want to drive. All those involved in serving this new clientele will need to have their knowledge thoroughly updated: from the parts shops to the counter advisers in the workshops, not forgetting the technicians, of course.
The other factor is passion. It’s really refreshing to talk to consumers who are excited about cars. I wouldn’t say it’s like the days of American Muscle Cars, but don’t get me wrong, people who think electric do so with deep emotion, especially if it’s their first experience.
Finally, and this speaks directly to us, these consumers want to be reassured about the ability of independent workshops to offer them an alternative to having their vehicle serviced by a dealer. It’s all to our credit. The relationship of trust built up with your customers over the years is reflected in their willingness to seriously consider entrusting you with the servicing of their EV in the near future.
This relationship of trust is largely based on your expertise. It’s time you got up to speed and were able to diagnose, maintain and repair these new technology vehicles.
Show your expertise
And when you’re up to speed, put yourself on display. Promote yourself as an EV specialist. This will attract a new clientele, of course, but this visibility will show the next generation of technicians that, like them, you are passionate about new technologies.
And those who think there’s no rush are mistaken. It takes time to bring your teams up to speed, and not just your technicians, but everyone in your company. Now is also the time to make sure that your suppliers are also up to date and can provide the parts and materials needed for these vehicles which, contrary to popular myth, do indeed need servicing.
There are currently around fifty electric and hybrid vehicle models on the market. And while deliveries are dragging on at the moment, there’s no doubt that the autumn could see an increase in the number of electric vehicles built on our continent and overseas.
It’s up to you to prepare for this and, with this new clientele, to find a new passion for your sector.