Auto Service World
News   October 19, 2022   by David Thomas

The long wait for an EV future

Most consumers say they will choose to visit dealers to service their electric vehicles

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Each day that passes inevitably includes a headline about the inevitableness of electric vehicles taking over our industry. And if we’re to take that belief at face value, the question is no longer “if” EVs will become commonplace, it’s when.

In CDK Global’s recent white paper The Charged Truth About Electric Vehicles, we provide a reasonable timeline for how a transition could take place and ask dealers to adopt a 15-year plan in terms of their own readiness.

Why do we have such a cautious outlook and what does it mean for vehicle service?

We are seeing two major obstacles preventing EV adoption – one is a sense of extreme hesitancy from many car shoppers. In fact, 46 per cent of the current car shoppers surveyed wouldn’t even consider an EV. Most point to living situations, especially not owning a garage, as an obstacle.

The other factor slowing up adoption is simply time. The time it is taking to build a reliable charging infrastructure for all brands is becoming more of a thorn as many of the existing chargers are also seeing reduced uptime. And let’s face it, few automakers have been able to introduce new EVs to the market. Yes, they may be at auto shows and in TV commercials, but many EVs on display are actually years away from public sales and those on sale are hard to find due to the ongoing supply chain issues in the industry.

This slow start to an EV transition should be seen as a benefit. It is giving the automotive retail industry time to prepare, not pivot, as electrification becomes more common.

This slow start to an EV transition should be seen as a benefit. It is giving the automotive retail industry time to prepare, not pivot, as electrification becomes more common.

It should also give service teams more time to analyze findings like ours. The newness of the technology is actually swaying EV owners to use dealership services, rather than the aftermarket, far more than other owners. Four out of five EV buyers say they will go to the dealership for service because they expect the most knowledgeable technicians to be trained by the automaker. And while oil changes will eventually disappear, 61 per cent of EV buyers surveyed are most concerned with the health of their battery, more than any other service offering.

Creating a routine battery service that can offset the loss of oil changes may be a few years down the road, but the other major area of service is already top of mind for the repair industry is tires.

As many shops look to build out their tire offerings for all shoppers, EVs will require more education because tires will likely wear out sooner due to the high levels of torque electric motors deliver to the drive wheels. There will be more EV-specific tire designs and compounds as well. And owners will even start to notice more road noise from the tires with the absence of any engine noise in the cabin.

Adjusting your tire business ahead of the increasing full-fledged EV services will help with the steep learning curve that’s to come.

Just because there may be time to meet the oncoming changes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare now.

David Thomas is director of content marketing and automotive industry analyst at CDK Global. He has spent nearly 20 years in the automotive world as a product evaluator, journalist and marketer for brands like Autoblog,, Nissan and Harley-Davidson.

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