When it comes to EV sales, the biggest party-poopers may not be shadowy oil industry conspirators, but auto dealers, who often lack information about their manufacturers’ electric models, and sometimes actively discourage buyers from considering them.
Kia of Vancouver provided a blatant example of this recently, when a sales manager replied to a potential customer’s inquiry by saying that there was no good reason to buy a Soul EV – or any EV. The response, which the consumer forwarded to InsideEVs, reads in part:
Are you interested because you think an EV will save you money, or because you believe it will be good for the environment? Because realistically, it will do neither. The Carbon footprint of making the electric battery is equivalent to driving the gas powered luxury Soul for 5 years, and the extra 8-10000 $ you will pay for an EV, would pay for gas in a 2.0 l GDI four cylinder for 7 years.
So again, whatever your buying motivation, savings or environment, at this point in time, the EV is a social / political statement and is good neither for your pocketbook, nor the environment.
Later, another manager sent an “apology” to the consumer, which acknowledged that the tone of the first message was unfortunate, but reiterated the anti-EV argument:
It is debatable how “environmental friendly” EV cars really are. Nickel is mined by big diesel powered machinery to gather materials to build batteries. Cars are shipped around the world using big ships running on fossil fuels.
The one thing I do like to ask potential EV customers myself is whether they believe that driving an EV will save them money in the long term. This is not true right now because the cost of an EV car compared to its gasoline counterpart is so much more expensive at the point of sale. Taking the Soul for example, a $10000 price difference does indeed buy you a lot of gas (e.g., $2000 per year on gas will get you 5 years of driving). Then we can take into consideration that gasoline cars are known and likely more reliable, regardless of the brand.
This seems particularly sad, because, as we noted in a recent feature article, the Soul EV is a promising vehicle and, unlike some other EV-makers, Kia seems to be committed to making it a success. Vincentric recently named the 2015 Soul EV a “Best Value in America” award winner in the Electric/Plug-in Hybrid category. Following a successful launch in California, Kia announced last week that it will expand availability to five new states: Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii.
Like most automakers who offer EVs, Kia has a program to qualify its dealers, who must meet specific requirements on both the sales and technical sides before they can sell the car. The Vancouver dealer who sent the above message is not one of those authorized to sell the Soul EV.
Fortunately, not all Kia dealers are cut from the same oil-soaked cloth. InsideEVs also shared the story of a gentleman who leased a Soul EV from a California dealership in January, and was delighted with the service he received.