“I guess the challenge is increasing customer knowledge,” said Jeff Janzen, Nott’s sales and marketing manager. “It’s definitely a challenge in a smaller market without a lot of the infrastructure.”
Most of that education is on service, and on the cost of a “fill,” which Janzen said is about $6 or $7. As for service, he said the simplicity of electric cars reduces the service schedule down to one yearly inspection, as well as periodic software updates either at the dealer or via the vehicle’s built-in LTE data node.
“Because it’s electric, there are 1,000 moving parts this car doesn’t have,” he said. “That’s 1,000 failure points it also doesn’t have. Brakes, windshield wipers, cabin filters; these are your consumables.
“Tesla doesn’t believe in making money on service. They believe the current business model is broken, and that service shouldn’t be a profit centre. Things should just work.”
There are, according to CAA, only 14 public charging stations and only one Level 3 station in Winnipeg, a city of nearly 800,000 people.
Plugshare.com — which includes outlets owned privately — lists 30 stations, including at least two Tesla superchargers and a handful of Level 3 stations, in the vicinity. Most owners listed — including IKEA, dealerships and small businesses — are generous with sharing.
Janzen said the resistance in Manitoba to a rebate for electric vehicles stems from a different perspective.
“The political pressure is to reduce the demand for hydroelectricity, not so much to reduce the province’s carbon footprint.”
That’s been a bone of contention for the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association for years, given the province’s abundant supply of cheap hydroelectric power.
“It is very disappointing,” said secretary Ross Redman. “We had hoped a change in government would result in a change of attitude, but sadly, this is not the case.”
Fleet set to double
Redman said he expects Manitoba’s electric fleet — which five years ago consisted exclusively of conversions of gas vehicles to electric — to double in the next few months.
Still, even though Nott sells primarily used vehicles powered by gas or diesel, Janzen thinks the tipping point on the Prairies is coming, especially with next year’s anticipated arrival of the Model 3, which comes to market at half the price of the Model S.
“That is when I think they’re absolutely going to start taking over the market,” he said, pointing to the 400,000 pre-orders already on file, two of which are for Nott.