Auto Service World
News   February 27, 2024   by Adam Malik

Plenty of EV education still needed: Automakers


Volvo’s Matt Girgis stands in front of the newly unveiled EX90 at the 2024 Canadian International AutoShow

There is still a large knowledge gap between fact and fiction when it comes to electric vehicles in Canada, representatives from several automakers acknowledged recently.

They understand it’s something they need to work on as electrification moves forward. At the Canadian International AutoShow this year, Auto Service World spoke to representatives from Chevrolet, Stellantis, Ford and Volvo about electrifying the car parc.

Holly Broome, national marketing manager of Chevrolet cars and crossovers, emphasized the important role of education in overcoming range anxiety and other consumer concerns holding Canadians back from making the switch to electric.

“We have to do a lot more education to help customers understand what owning an EV is really like,” she said.

For example, most charging is done at home, reducing pressure on public infrastructure.

“Once folks realize that it puts less pressure on needing to understand the infrastructure when they’re out and about on the road.”

Stellantis has put out its first fully electric vehicle, the Fiat 500e.

“Part of introducing that vehicle is definitely educating consumers on what it’s like to live with a battery electric vehicle,” explained Brad Horn, product communications manager at Stellantis Canada. “It’s even started with things like educating people on how the federal EV incentives or the provincial ones because that vehicle is going to be introduced in B.C. and in Quebec first.”

The company now plans to have half of its vehicle sales be electric by 2030.

“So while we will build the EVs and market them, we have six of them coming this year, there will still definitely be internal combustion, or PHEV vehicles in our lineup. It’s going to be sort of a mix, and it will have something that will address everybody’s wants.”

And there’s Volvo, which will fully electrify its fleet by 2030.

“Our purpose as a company [is to] provide freedom to move in a personal, sustainable and safe way,” observed Matt Girgis, managing director of Volvo Car Canada. “And we just see the natural evolution of our safety DNA, transitioning into sustainability, which, of course, a big part of that is to reduce tailpipe emissions. So this is our Ambition 2030. And we’re committed to that.”

As for the education concept, he noted that the early adopters have bought their EVs and now it’s time to attract the next group of buyers.

“We do see that there is a bit of anxiety still around range, around accessibility,” he said about the next group of buyers.

Over at Ford, they say they understand what the issues are and they’re working to address those concerns.

“So if we take range, for example, so we’re always working on our product to improve range,” said Alexa Desjardins, vehicle line manager for BEV and commercial vehicles, at Ford Motor Company of Canada. “So our engineers are so focused on driving every single kilometre of range that we can get in our vehicles, and we give it to our owners. It’s not just in the new products. We give it through over-the-air updates as soon as there are updates.”

She pointed to range concerns and consumers being so focused on how far a vehicle can go on a single charge, pointing to daily use cases. For longer road trips, options are expanding.

“And now we just made a deal with Tesla, where we’re going to unlock 15,000 Superchargers in the spring for our customers,” Desjardins said. “And so we’re always looking at improving our customer experience from a charging perspective.”

Auto Service World will be sharing the full conversations with each brand spokesperson in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more details about what they have planned.


Print this page

Related


2 Comments » for Plenty of EV education still needed: Automakers
  1. emmaagro says:

    So if we take range, for example, so we’re always working on our product to improve range,” said Alexa Desjardins, vehicle line manager for BEV and commercial vehicles, at Ford Motor Company of Canada. “So our engineers are so focused on driving every single kilometre of range that we can get in our vehicles, and we give it to our owners. It’s not just in the new products. We give it through over-the-air updates as soon as there are updates.”
    She pointed to range concerns and consumers being so focused on how far a vehicle can go on a single charge, pointing to daily use cases.

  2. Geoff says:

    A large gap of knowledge? Right off the bat, she claims that infrastructure concerns are unfounded because most charging is done at home. Do these people have any comprehension of how electricity even works? Public infrastructure is most certainly needed to get that electricity to your home. Knowledge is not the problem, it’s the constant half truths and misinformation coming from EV proponents that are the real problem.

    And they can keep telling us that range concerns are unfounded, but for 90% of the geographic regions of Canada, we know that is simply untrue for a significant portion of the year in moderate to extreme cold.

    The real gap here is the large percentage of Canadians living in a small geographic portion of the country, temperate regions, dictating their narrow minded views to the rest of us.

    A fully charged EV in January is not the same vehicle in Vancouver as it is in northern Ontario. This is the real gap.

Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*