Electric vehicles: An easy sell

by Collin Riggin ([email protected]) 758 views 

We’ve heard ‘em all. “It won’t work for my daily commute.” Or “There’s nowhere to charge it.” When shopping for a new car, customers’ initial reasons for steering away from electric vehicles (EV) can seem valid based on what they’ve been told. But once they hear about the benefits—and get in the driver’s seats—EVs are an easy sell.

When I founded Evolve Auto in 2019, consumer interest in EVs was rising. Yet to many in our state, opening an exclusive EV dealership was still considered a risky business proposition. Two years in, and the tide has turned. Now, our state can further supercharge the market’s trajectory by combating commonly held, but inaccurate, beliefs about EVs.

The first, and perhaps the most often repeated, claim is about EV’s supposed lack of range. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American household travels approximately 50 miles per day. Eighty five percent travel under 100 miles. Currently, most EV models go more than 200 miles on a full battery. And a growing number of automakers have plans to unveil additional longer-range vehicles.

Another frequent question, particularly among drivers with young families, is about EV’s safety. The Department of Energy (DOE) notes, “commercially available electric-drive vehicles must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and undergo the same rigorous safety testing as conventional vehicles.” EVs have safeguards for their battery packs and electrical systems. They also have lower centers of gravity, which DOE says makes them “more stable and less likely to roll over.” In fact, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety data shows the rates of collision, property damage liability and injury claims are substantially less frequent for EVs.

Another myth: an apparent lack of EV models. Like residents in other southern states, Arkansans prefer trucks and SUVs. Today, there are more than 45 EV models on the market—from sedans to vans and soon, pickup trucks. These are available for nearly every price point and style preference, with new options coming off the production lines regularly. Many of the nation’s largest automakers, such as GM and Honda, are in the process of opening manufacturing facilities to build these vehicles right here in America.

Finally, there is the well-worn claim that “I don’t have access to the necessary charger.” EVs don’t require special outlets. In fact, Arkansans can plug them into regular 120-volt, or Level 1, outlets at home. Or they can easily install a 240-volt outlet, which gives double or triple the charge in the same amount of time. Granted, the number of publicly available charging stations in Arkansas is on the lower end of the national spectrum. However, private and public-sector initiatives are now underway to change that. Combine those with President Biden’s infrastructure proposal, and the network is expected to steadily expand, including in rural communities across our state.

EVs offer first-class performance, an unbeatable driving experience, long-term fuel savings and, to the delight of eco-conscious shoppers, a smaller carbon footprint. When stacked side-by-side with traditional vehicles, switching gears to EVs is a no-brainer.

Editor’s note: Collin Riggin is the founder and partner of Evolve Auto in North Little Rock, the South’s first and only exclusive electric vehicle dealership.