Dealerships trash talk electric cars: study

Five percent of all passenger cars on the road in Norway are plug-in electric vehicles
Five percent of all passenger cars on the road in Norway are plug-in electric vehicles

Car dealerships in Nordic countries actively discourage consumers from buying electric vehicles, researchers who conducted an undercover investigation said Monday.

Their findings, published in the peer-reviewed Nature Energy, reveal an overlooked barrier to the sale of electric vehicles, which are expected to play a key role in lowering CO2 emissions and curbing global warming.

Posing as prospective buyers, the researchers made 126 enquiries at 82 dealerships in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland.

They report that to an astonishing degree the dealers denigrated electric vehicles (EVs), misinformed customers on specifications such as range or charging requirements, and omitted EVs from their sales pitches.

"In two-thirds of all shopping experiences, sales personnel strongly or solely oriented the customer to select a petrol or diesel , and actively dismissed EVs," the study concluded.

In more than three-quarters of the exchanges, vendors did not even indicate that they had electric cars on offer.

In one dealership, the researchers were told: "Do not buy this electric car, it will ruin you financially."

In another, the salesman said the model in question "only goes 80 kilometres per hour"—less than half its true top speed.

These discouragements are at odds with actual levels of customer satisfaction, according to a Consumer Reports survey in the US, where electric vehicles were rated as more reliable that internal combustion automobiles.

Electric vehicles are less complex than gas or hybrid cars, and have no need for cooling systems, filters, spark plugs and other parts that can break down or require periodic replacement.

Lower profit margins, lack of knowledge, and the extra time needed to seal a deal were among the reasons sales personnel were reluctant to promote EVs, according to industry insiders cited in the study.

Dealership indifference or hostility to EVs varied across countries, depending in part on government policies.

Phasing out diesel and gas

The most EV-friendly nation was Norway, where—not coincidentally, the study argues—EV drivers benefit from subsidies, access to bus lanes, and free parking.

Norway leads the world in market penetration: five percent of all on the road are (PEVs), as were nearly 40 percent of new vehicles purchased there in 2017.

By comparison, the market share of PEVs last year in Sweden was five percent, in Denmark half a percent, and in China two percent. For Europe as a whole, the figure is less than two percent.

Global sales of electric vehicles rose from about 700,000 in 2016 to 1.1 million last year. Nearly half of those sales were in China, with the United States and Europe accounting for another 40 percent.

Currently, there are just over two million electric vehicles on the world's roads, out of about one billion passenger cars worldwide—two-tenths of one percent.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the number of electric vehicles in use must reach 600 million by 2040 to ensure the Paris climate treaty goal of capping at "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

The transport sector accounts for a quarter of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy research group Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) on Monday forecast that sales would increase 10-fold to 11 million cars in 2025, and 30 million in 2030.

By 2040, electric vehicles should overtake those running on petrol or diesel, accounting for more than half of new car sales worldwide and a third of all light-duty vehicles on the road, the group predicted.

"We think that will become cheaper than ICEs ( engines) after 2025, even on an unsubsidised basis," BNEF's head of energy economics, Elena Giannakopoulou, told AFP.

"But it takes time to launch new models, and for consumers to start buying this technology."


Explore further

China monthly car sales pick up in April; EV sales double

More information: Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens et al. Dismissive and deceptive car dealerships create barriers to electric vehicle adoption at the point of sale, Nature Energy (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41560-018-0152-x

© 2018 AFP

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May 21, 2018
Dealerships trash talk electric cars: study

Translation: Dealerships take consumer education seriously.

May 21, 2018
Servicing infernal combustion engined cars is such a big money maker for dealerships that it is no wonder they trash electrics, there is a whole lot less to require those insanely expensive spare parts and sky high labour rates.

May 21, 2018
I would bet that the dealership owners are collecting under the table from IC & Diesel distributors. As well as the after-market parts industry.

That ain't just petrol fumes stinking up the atmosphere from the Carbon Lobby. But also the stench of corruption.

As they poison our only habitable world, they poison their own souls!

May 21, 2018
There is no word about car batteries and how long they can be used.
When you will need to replace car batteries in EV?
What will be cost of it?
What about recycling these huge batteries?
Is it simple and economic?
What about loses during charging car batteries and heat generated during charging?
There are still too many doubts about EV for me.
Goal is great but something is not right at the moment.
EV producers are not telling all about their products.
Sellers are right in my opinion.

May 21, 2018
"When you will need to replace car batteries in EV?"

With currently used lithium chemistries, between 9 - 12 years, depending on use.

"What will be cost of it?"


Starting at present prices, with a yearly 4% reduction in prices for 11 years, about 20% of the price of the new car. So, if you buy a new EV at $35k you'll have to pay $7k for the replacement battery.

In other words, the replacement battery will be worth more than the car. They have greatly diminished re-sale value, which is part of the reason why the dealerships don't want to sell them. Most of the cars bought and sold are second hand, and dealerships make a lot of money by selling the trade-ins.

May 22, 2018
Well, ICE cars are their cash cows. I can see where dealers have no interest in giving customers the facts. All the more reason to educate yourself before going to a dealership (which you should be doing anyways with such a large investment).

The only thing you should be saying at a dealer is: "Give me this car with these extras. When can you deliver?"...anything that comes from the dealer's mouth will likely not be in your interest.

May 22, 2018
"There is no word about car batteries and how long they can be used."
There's plenty of data already. Car batteries from dedicated manufacturers will last you more than the lifetime of the vehicle at 90% capacity.

"When you will need to replace car batteries in EV?"
Likely never. Some give you 8 years guarantee (i.e. the average time between failure is much longer than that, because guarantee times are calculated so that only a tiny number have to be replaced)

"What will be cost of it?"
That is an interesting question. With Li-ion batteries currently falling in price by 10% a year you can expect to not pay much if you ever need to replace these.

"What about recycling these huge batteries?
Is it simple and economic?"
Yes it's economic. EV makers are already teaming up with recycling firms. Also note that such batteries aren't 'dead'. They can still be used (e.g. for storage solutions) for another 25 years instead of immediate recycling.

May 22, 2018
"What about loses during charging car batteries and heat generated during charging?"
Losses need to be factored in, like everything else. But batteries are very efficient. If you take the entire chain (electricity production, transmission losses, charging/discharging losses, motor losses) then even if you use fossil fuels to generate the electricity an EV far outpaces an ICE car in terms of efficient use of energy. Of course if you use renewables - which should be the ultimate goal - then that only gets much, much better.

"EV producers are not telling all about their products. "
What exactly aren't they telling? The information to all your questions is freely available from them (and also from third party sources who've done their own studies).
Just going "I didn't bother informing myself therefore there are still unknowns" does not sound like a sensible attitude to me.

May 22, 2018
"Car batteries from dedicated manufacturers will last you more than the lifetime of the vehicle at 90% capacity."


The average age of a vehicle on the road is about 11-12 years. There's no (lithium) battery on the market that lasts the lifetime of a vehicle (20+ years)

"(i.e. the average time between failure is much longer than that, because guarantee times are calculated so that only a tiny number have to be replaced)"


That's not how it works. At the end-of-life state, the probability of failure increases exponentially. The companies give you warranties that last just up to where they expect the failure rate to start increasing over the baseline random failures. It's called the Bathtub Curve:

http://www.weibul...cs21.htm

This is the reason why so many products seem to fail just out of warranty. Batteries fail, electronics fail, mechanics fail with an exponential wear-out curve that causes a sharp increase in failures at EOL.

May 22, 2018
"What exactly aren't they telling?"


Typically EV manufacturers lie about the actual range of the vehicles, adding up to +50% more than what is really attainable by the average user or the EPA. Tesla is a little bit better in this regard - they only add +25%

They're explicitly not telling what the expected lifespan of the batteries is, and especially how the capacity will fade, but some information leaks through. For example, Tesla expects to overhaul the batteries in their Superchargers every 12 years.

All in all, it's a frustrating game of "read the small print". You have to dig through a mountain of bullshit, find and interpret vague claims, and the third party fanboys aren't helping the least by taking all the information and putting a hype spin on it.

Just like you did with your "the average time between failure is much longer than the warranty" - which is just wishful thinking.

May 22, 2018
Also, long warranties tend to be limited warranties. They explicitly rule out things like normal wear and tear, where it can be hard to prove that an early failure of a car battery isn't caused by use rather than a defect.

I once bought a watch that came with a 5-year limited warranty. Reading the paper slip, the warranty did not cover the strap, the buckle, the pins, the glass, the body, the dial, the battery... every single part was mentioned to the point where I could not find anything that the warranty would actually cover.

Caveat emptor.

May 22, 2018
Eikka, can you name a single model of ICE or Diesel that will go 5 years without replacing several necessary parts?

That can go 10 years without replacing most of the machinery?

Factor in the need for regular maintenance and operational expenses.

For society as a whole, what is a better deal? Recyclable materials, powered by a variety of renewable energy sources.

Or, the unsustainable output of limited petroleum sources. As a rigidly controlled monopolistic energy source. Subsidized with expensive military forces.

Gaming the global economy with continuous violent confrontations to prop up the profit margins. That only benefit the Saudis, Russians and their toadies.

And Not a single one of them manning up to accept responsibility for the waste and misery they leave behind them.

May 29, 2018
There is no word about car batteries and how long they can be used.
When you will need to replace car batteries in EV?
What will be cost of it?
What about recycling these huge batteries?
Is it simple and economic?


Are you aware that this technology exist since times immemorial? Or did you think industrial forklifters work be telekinesis ?

;)

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