EVA Accreditation: Buying from retailers skilled in selling EVs
Uncertainty and poor advice from vehicle dealerships has been identified as a key barrier to electric vehicle ownership. To tackle the problem, retailers can now achieve Electric Vehicle Approved status if they can demonstrate that their staff are skilled in selling and servicing electric vehicles
Following the creation of a new government-backed accreditation scheme, potential electric vehicle buyers will soon be able to visit an Electric Vehicle Approved dealership. This shows that they have the skills and knowledge to confidently sell electric vehicles.
Uncertainty and poor advice has been identified as a key barrier to electric vehicle ownership.
Whilst electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales are growing, the amount of such vehicles on the roads only represent a small proportion of the UK car parc.
Potential EV buyers tend to find buying an alternatively fuelled vehicle more complex than purchasing an internal combustion engine vehicle. Motorists need to consider different elements when purchasing an alternatively fuelled vehicle as opposed to a petrol or diesel one, for instance, battery range and the availability of charge points.
Indeed, at a GreenFleet roundtable, some fleet managers opened up about their experiences of actively wanting to buy an electric vehicle, only to be talked out of it at the dealership, or told that they don’t stock any.
Retailers therefore need to be able to answer all the questions a customer may have, explain the benefits of owning an electric vehicle and clarify any possible confusion.
This government initiative, called ‘EVA accreditation’ means that car dealerships with staff skilled in selling and servicing electric vehicles will be formally accredited and promoted, and known as ‘Electric Vehicle Approved’.
The scheme will therefore create a trusted brand, increasing the confidence of drivers looking to buy an electric vehicle. This will then also encourage car dealers to develop their expertise in servicing electric vehicles, as the country continues to move towards a zero-emission future.
It follows a successful pilot phase that ran from November 2018 to February 2019 where the electric vehicle skills of 12 dealerships were audited.
It is already estimated there will be 130 Electric Vehicle Approved sites across the UK by the end of 2019.
Jesse Norman, Future of Mobility Minister, said: “Record levels of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads are good news, as we seek to end the sale of new conventional diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040. The accreditation recognises businesses with knowledge, capability and commitment to electric vehicles, and will help to encourage more car owners to switch to a greener alternative.”
The standard for electric vehicle dealer accreditation has been developed by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) and the Energy Saving Trust (EST).
It is open to all retailers and is awarded to individual dealership locations that are independently audited by the Energy Saving Trust. The independence of this process will give consumers the certainty that a retailer with the EVA accreditation is a leader in the sector.
NFDA’s director, Sue Robinson, 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.”
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. It gives consumers confidence and supporting the growing uptake of ultra-low and zero emission vehicles.
“With transport generating 26 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the sale of ultra-low and zero emission vehicles is critical in the efforts to reduce carbon emissions in line with government targets.”
Skills for mechanics
Once the electric fleet is purchased, drivers and fleet managers will want the reassurance that those tasked to repair the vehicles have the right skills.
The government’s Road to Zero strategy commits to improving the skills of mechanics, ensuring they are “well trained and have the skills they need to repair these vehicles safely.”
Recently, the MIRA Technology Institute unveiled a new series of short courses, designed for fleets with newly-adopted EVs and vehicle technicians after it was highlighted that there is a significant shortfall in the number of technicians that are currently trained in electric vehicle technology.
The Institute is offering a range of short courses designed to plug this gap and provide accredited training that covers topics including safety, hazard management, maintenance, and system repair and replacement.