What Automotive professionals need to know about EVs and their buyers

Last updated on 6 February 2024
Wherever you sit in the automotive industry it’s clear that electric vehicles (EVs) are the way of the future. But what exactly will that future look like and what can we do to get ready for it? 
A Hyundai IONIQ 5 EV overtakes a Holden Commodore on a city freeway

Hyundai’s Senior Manager of Future Mobility – and a long-time industry leader – Scott Nargar sees big changes on the road ahead. 

“While the transition to EVs is still in its infancy here, there’s going to be a lot of new technologies coming through in the next 10 to 15 years,” he says. “More than likely, just about everything that’s a petrol vehicle today will be an EV in the future. The heavier mass vehicles are likely to be hydrogen fuel cell. Either way, our roads will look very different.”

Right now, the transition to EVs may feel slow, even to auto industry insiders. But it is happening. “A lot of buyers in the first couple of years have been your early adopters, but that’s changing now,” explains Nargar. “We’re seeing people make the decision because they don’t want to buy petrol anymore. And as more people get solar at home, the financials make even more sense.”

On a larger scale, business and government fleets are beginning to include more EVs, too. ”The important thing dealers can do is help these prospective buyers understand how the vehicle is driven each day,” says Nargar. “Some EVs can now do 400, 500, even 600 kilometres on a charge. That’s not widely known among decision makers, yet.” 

First up, help your customers clarify how they will use their car. “How do you drive each day? What kind of space do you need in the car?” Nargar asks. “It’s the same considerations as when you’re looking at a petrol vehicle.”

The key difference, of course, is that EVs don’t require filling with fuel. Instead, they’re charged using a electrical charging port at home or at shared carpark spaces. This can require a bit more explanation from dealers when customers are new to how EVs work. 

“You can explain how installing one of these at home is a bit like installing a hot water system – it’s an improvement to the home, and may increase its value, especially if it’s connected in to solar panels,” says Nargar. The average cost of the wall-mounted unit? About $2000 supply and fit, unless any additional electrical work that your home may need above a standard install.

And what about potential buyers who use a communal garage area – like an apartment block? “They should speak to their body corporate,” advises Nargar, “because likelihood is, they’re not the only resident who wants one.”

Surprisingly to some, EVs are often cheaper to maintain. “There’s a lot fewer moving parts in an EV – just four or six in the engine bay, versus thousands of moving parts in an internal combustion engine,” Nargar points out. “So EVs have a lot less wear and tear, and there are fewer parts that can go wrong – no filters and oil and spark plugs and so on.”

This is worth pointing out to potential buyers as it can make a big difference to the total cost of ownership of an EV over time.

There’s a steeper learning curve for EVs, so Nargar suggests prospective buyers spend longer getting to know the car they’re interested in. This is where dealers can smooth the way.

“Some brands offer extended test drives, where you can take the car, understand the charging situation, really get comfortable with it. That can help.

“Also, look out for EV drive days. These give people the opportunity to experience a whole range of EVs at one event and learn what suits them best.”

Finally, talk to current EV owners – advice that’s relevant for prospective buyers and auto professionals alike. 

“Whenever I’m charging at a service station, drivers of petrol cars will come over and say, what do you think? Why'd you buy it? How are you charging at home? How far does it get?” says Nargar.

“You see someone pull up on an EV and nine times out of ten, they're going to give you all the information you need from their personal experience. So never be afraid to ask, because knowledge is power. No pun intended.”

Stephen Charles, Head of Automotive Partners, wants dealers, partners and customers to know that Allianz is ready for changing vehicles. 

“Allianz Motor Insurance already provides coverage for EVs and vehicles with a traditional engine. We’ve been providing insurance for EVs for years and we’ve updated the wording of the Motor Insurance PDS to make our cover easier to understand for EV owners,” Charles explains. 

“I think it’s important to help customers understand that purchasing an EV doesn’t necessarily mean they should brace themselves for higher insurance premiums. 

“Insurance premiums aren’t necessarily higher for electric cars than for traditional vehicles. Premiums will vary depending on a number of circumstances. 

“It’s also important customers understand what is included in their policy. An Allianz Motor Insurance policy doesn’t just cover the EV, it also covers their home charger and accessories customers purchase for their vehicle, even those not provided by the Original Equipment Manufacturer, as long the charger and/or accessories are designed for or are compatible with your customer’s vehicle,” adds Charles. 

At Allianz, we’ve updated our Motor Insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) in recognition of the changes to the automotive landscape, and make it easier for electric vehicle owners to understand their policy. To learn more about the changes, contact your Allianz Account Manager.
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