“The early adopters [of EVs] knew more than us,” Jobson said.
The dealership had to learn how to move quickly to service the EVs. “They’re on the road,” Jobson said. “We have to support them now.”
It also had to step up training for its staff. Technicians were encouraged to take EV certification courses as quickly as possible, and call-centre staff needed coaching, Jobson said.
“We had to tell them, ‘Please do not do an oil change reminder,’ ” because, of course, EVs don’t need them.
In 2020, the group appointed a project manager, Morgan Laffin, to help the dealerships prepare to sell and service EVs. Steps included installing on-site chargers, getting listed on charge-point maps so nonlocal EV drivers could find the chargers, and preparing materials to help buyers learn more about EV ownership.
Laffin also prepared a series of FAQ videos for customers, answering many of the frequent questions potential EV buyers have.
Since Deveau’s big leap into EVs, five of the eight Bruce stores are installing or have installed chargers. Jobson estimates that by the end of this year, 80 per cent of the dealerships will be EV-ready.
All of Hyundai’s 224 Canadian dealerships and 30 Genesis retailers are onboard with the transition to EVs, said Hyundai Canada CEO Don Romano. Collectively, they have invested $750 million in building upgrades, training and infrastructure such as on-site chargers. That has put them “much further ahead” of Hyundai Canada’s U.S. counterparts, Romano said.
So is Genesis. By 2025, it will be selling EVs only, said Eric Marshall, director of Genesis Motors Canada. This summer, the company gathered its staff to drive Genesis EV products and gain firsthand knowledge.
It was important to have the Genesis dealerships EV-ready because, Romano said, “we have to give the mass market a comfort level” that the EV they buy will be supported.
Ali Sobani, manager of distributor and dealer development for both Hyundai and Genesis in Canada, said Bosch will supply chargers, special tools and training to Genesis dealers. All Genesis distributors in Canada are certified to service EVs, he said.