Car dealerships will soon be given a badge of approval that tells consumers they’ve demonstrated excellent knowledge and after-sales care when selling electric vehicles.
The initiative, introduced by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), aims to address concerns faced by buyers of battery-powered vehicles. The Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) scheme will recognise a dealership’s expertise and set industry standards for EV selling.
Launched in partnership with the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles, approval will be handed out following an independent audit of a dealership by the Energy Saving Trust.
The NFDA says the EVA scheme is required because motorists have to take into account a wider variety of factors when buying electric and plug-in hybrid models than with petrol and diesel, such as battery range or the availability of charging points.
To support the growth of the alternatively-fuelled vehicle (AFV) market, the NFDA says retailers must be able to answer consumers’ questions about ownership and be able to promote the benefits of EVs.
Matthew Eastwood, head of transport at Energy Saving Trust, said: “EVA-accredited dealers possess the knowledge and expertise necessary to ensure their customers have a positive and well-informed experience when buying new or used plug in vehicles. Giving consumers confidence and supporting the growing uptake of ultra-low and zero emission vehicles.”
Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA, said: “It is extremely positive to join forces with the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the Energy Saving Trust to develop EVA, an initiative which we expect to play a key role in the market transition to electric vehicles.
“EVA will certify the efforts franchised retailers are making in the EV sector to meet the fast-growing consumer demand and will enable them to clearly communicate to their customers their expertise in the sector”.
Sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles have boomed in recent years, only faltering recently as the government reduced and removed some green car grants. Between January and April, sales of AFVs were up 14 per cent on the same period last year, but still only represent a six per cent market share.