Pushing a rope: Why EVs aren’t pushed more and resistance (no pun intended) to Tesla sales model

Kia Soul EV HamstersI often see comments on Facebook’s Chevy Volt Owners group (a great group for those wanting to learn about the Volt or EVs in general) about GM or the dealerships not “pushing” Volts. Things get particularly heated, when a state legislature or court opposes Tesla Motors’ sales model being “banned” from the state, due to NADA or dealership opposition. In the past year, sitting behind a sales desk at a dealership, I’ve gotten a new perspective on this. I’ve said this before, but here I go again:

The lack of sales effort and knowledge is NOT due to the dealers, it’s the profit margin that is to blame (for the salesperson, dealership and GM). The sale of a Volt (or just about any EV) is an educational sale. The time it takes to educate a customer about an EV, charging, battery life, tax incentives, etc. is money down the drain for a salesperson. In the time it takes to sell an EV, they could have sold two or three trucks or sportscars. EVs are so new that the profit margin (on which the salesperson is paid) is very thin, exacerbating the problem. In your job, if you could do a task that took very little effort, but paid very highly, versus a task that was very difficult but paid very little, which would YOU choose to do?

Salespeople are mercenary. They do what they do for money (like all of us). Trying to get them to spend extra time selling something that doesn’t earn them much, is like trying to push a rope. Dealerships can coax them with a little extra money, but if there are lower-hanging fruit to pick, they (like most people) will grab it.

Chevy Volt Commercial (one of the few)Although I have no particular insight into GM, I’m sure the same is true with the Volt. Volt owners are appalled at the lack of advertising GM does for the Volt, especially when compared to relative newcomers to the market, like the Kia Soul EV. A GM executive has acknowledged that they lose money on every Volt sale. Again, if you were selling lemonade at a loss, would you still stand at the curb, pushing your lemonade aggressively?

That being said, there are some salespeople (like me) that feel the adoption of EVs is their mission. We are willing to take the time to learn as much as possible and teach as much as possible (even speaking at events on our own time, blogging, etc) in order to move the world forward, toward a better day. There are also some dealers (like the one I work for) who pay bonuses for EV sales, even when these bonuses turn a profitable sale into a loss. They install multiple chargers and allow their customers to charge for free. Some, (like the one I work for) pay their customer’s 1st year of charging at an affiliated charging network, even though it further reduces profitability. They, like us, want to see the world move toward a sustainable future and I salute them for it.

As customers, we should try to recognize dealers (and salespeople) who support EV adoption and support them by:

  • Buying from them rather than shopping on price alone.
  • Referring others to the dealer/salesperson, every time we tell people about our wonderful EVs.
  • Letting dealership management know when you’ve had a great interaction with a salesperson who’s obviously gone above and beyond for you.
  • Letting the dealership’s owner know how important you feel EVs are for the future of our country & planet.

Are some dealership owners greedy? Yes. Some portion of ANY population is motivated primarily by greed. However, some dealers are deeply involved in charitable works as well as making money, but don’t crow to the world about it (again, like the one I work for).

Many are enraged, when dealers or their lobbyists (like the National Automobile Dealers Association or NADA) oppose the non-dealership paradigm of Tesla Motors’ sales model (or more accurately “product education model”). The Tesla sales model, patterned after the Apple Store sales model, supports the educational sales cycle very well. How can they afford to do it? By compensating their sales staff at a relatively low salary instead of commission sales. A successful commissioned sales person is motivated to learn product and serve the customer, because that’s how they make a living. A car salesperson that doesn’t sell, doesn’t get paid. In the states that have banned the Tesla sales model, the salesperson doesn’t actually close the sale. They educate the consumer, who then goes somewhere else to access the Tesla website, and complete the transaction. Just like other types of corporations, as well as living creatures, auto dealerships want to survive. Their survival instincts will make them do things like fighting Tesla’s sales model at every turn, because they feel threatened by it. Even if their actions enrage the public, they will do it because they feel they have to.

Are there lazy, unethical salespeople, just looking to make a quick buck? Sure, but they won’t make it in the long run. They key to longevity in the auto sales business is referrals and repeat business from satisfied clients. I’ve had the honor, in my one year of automotive sales so far, to work with some of the most professional, fun, wonderful, helpful and charitable people I’ve EVER worked with, in any field in which I’ve worked.

The dealership sales model will be changed by EVs, but it will take time. Service Departments, in particular, will be savaged by the EV’s almost complete lack of scheduled maintenance. We are in a transitional period and are in uncharted territory. Dealers & salespeople (the good ones anyway) are feeling their way into this new era and learning as they go. In my honest opinion, the Tesla sales model is best for Tesla, at this stage of their development. Volume is low (compared to ICE vehicles), and they need the customer experience to be exceptional, so Tesla needs complete control over those selling them. In the future, when volume rises to the level of pickups or SUVs, NO amount of hiring will properly support their clientele. Even Apple has partners like Best Buy, Walmart, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc. selling their products. I believe Tesla will eventually need a dealer network to keep quality up.

Just my 2¢.

Why so frou-frou???

There’s something that’s bugged me ever since the original Prius debuted: Why do energy efficient vehicles often look so wimpy? They are often odd looking to an extreme. I wonder if this is because the manufacturers want to make sure their new product category is noticed or if it is because owners of these vehicles seem to have a need to proclaim to the world, “Look at me! I’m ecologically better than you!”Mitsubishi I-MiEVSmart EVAptera (now defunct)I know that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but aren’t there some absolutes in visual appeal? Perhaps not. Perhaps concessions to aerodynamics dictate a perfect shape. The Tesla Model S is touted for having a very low coefficient of drag, even lower than the Toyota Prius. See? Efficient doesn’t necessarily mean ugly.

But aesthetics are definitely not universal. My friend Charles and I disagree on almost every single EV. I think the Cadillac ELR is beautiful and he thinks it’s ugly. He thinks the Nissan Leaf is attractive and its looks repulse me (sorry Nissan). Admittedly, the Leaf was the very first EV I ever drove and I was ready to write a check for the down payment, on the spot. I liked the performance and what an electric vehicle meant to me enough to overlook the Leaf’s ugliness. (For all you Leaf owners out there, this is just my opinion. Don’t be offended. Continue reading…)Nissan Leaf

I mean really?!?! Which of these two do you find more visually appealing?Cadillac ELR

Another friend, Kelly was recently looking to move into a plug-in vehicle. Like me, she found the aesthetics of the Leaf lacking (to put it mildly). Her choices came down to two decidedly different vehicles, the Chevrolet Volt and the BMW i3. She had driven my Volt previously and came to Classic Chevrolet to test drive the latest model. She also drove the i3 that was loaned to My Electric Vehicle Journey by BMW of Arlington‘s EV champion, Pedro Alicea. We had borrowed it for a video test drive and review (I swear it’s coming soon…). She liked both vehicles, but ended up opting for the i3 because Pedro was able to get her a lower lease payment (Don’t ask me how. I’m still in shock). On most EV’s, Kelly and I have similar tastes. How she could stand the looks of the i3 will be explained in the review…Chevrolet VoltThe Volt vs. the BMW i3… Really Kelly?!? ;-)BMW i3I know that for EV adoption to happen, the people who do not currently know about EVs have to become aware of them. EVs have to make an impression and be noticed. But the more, for lack of a better term, “funky” looking vehicles, can also turn people away from considering any EV. Many people, noticing only those odd-looking EVs, might assume EVs all look that way and never explore deeper to find ones that are more mainstream in appearance.

Before I got a Volt, I never really noticed them. To me, they looked like a Cruze and, in fact, were often disparaged by the conservative media as a $40K Cruze. We all know that’s not the case (if you don’t know, go test drive both). I often confuse the Nissan Versa and Leaf. Quite often, even as much as I’ve been around EVs, the Ford Fusion, when seen at a distance,looks like a Tesla Model S to me.Ford FusionSeparated at birth? Please Model S owners, do not regale me with protestations! I did say from a distance, but…Tesla Model SSo I understand the marketing motivation of funky and I concede that some people, like my buddy Charles, may actually prefer funky. But the very definition of funky is outside the mainstream and probably unappealing to the masses needed for EVs to succeed.

My message to the EV manufacturers is, there are other ways to stand out than fugliness! One is badging and decals. The rear end of every Leaf has an emblem stating “Zero emission.” Imagine a driver, stuck in rush hour traffic, seeing that…Leaf BadgeThe only thing on my Volt, that lets anyone know it uses electricity, is the lightning bolt in the logo. In fact, GM offers a wrap package for the Volt to show off that it’s electric…sort of. The problem is, it costs extra to advertise for GM! Really??? Why don’t you include the graphic and have an optional charge to remove it? Why not offer it at no charge or even discount the Volt fifty bucks if someone adds the wrap?Volt Logo Wrap

As an EV owner will tell you, we all get approached by people with questions about our EVs, once they realize our vehicle is electric. That takes someone that is aware of EVs to some extent already. If you want to reach more potential customers, make the fact that they’re electric more prominent.

One other thing GM: Don’t allow the most widely seen commercial, featuring the Volt, be a Met Life commercial! ADVERTISE!!!!Met Life CommercialNow some EVs are inspirers of lust The ones that immediately come to mind are:

BMW i8BMW i8

Tesla RoadsterTesla RoadsterCan’t anyone make an EV or plug-in hybrid that has the looks of these beauties at a price affordable for those currently buying other EVs? We don’t need the futuristic doors. We just want to look sporty at a decent price.

Here’s a tip: The first company that does this, gets rich beyond the dreams of avarice.


The journey continues…

ChevyIt’s been a year, today. One year ago, I started a new career at Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, Texas. So much has happened in that year! I’ve gone from being a wide-eyed newbie to the recognized EV go-to person at the dealership. It still amazes me that I’m here. This dealership has been number one Chevy dealership in sales for the entire U.S. for the last eight years in a row! And they hired me, a guy with no car sales experience, solely because of my passion for the Volt. I’ve previously been a technical person on a sales team, never the actual salesperson. Car sales is a 100% commission job, meaning if you sell something you make money and if you don’t sell you don’t make money. It was with a fair amount of trepidation that I embarked on this portion of the journey and I’d say it’s been a success. In August of this year, I earned more than I ever had in one month in my entire career and, better yet, I had a blast doing it! I’ve been blessed with a great bunch of people with whom I work. My success has been because of the time they spent helping me learn this new profession, the faith of my wife which allowed me to try this new profession and the customers who have trusted me to help them select and acquire a new vehicle.

Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, TexasHave all my sales been Volts? No. To be honest, if I only sold Volts, I would have starved by now. I’ve sold pretty much every model Chevrolet makes and a fair number of those have been Stingrays, Silverados and Tahoes.

BandstandIn that time, I’ve become active with the North Central Texas Council of Governments‘ EV group, helping to promote EVs in the greater Dallas / Fort Worth area. I’ve attended local environmental events, as a representative of the dealership, and my blog has grown to over 11,350 subscribers.

I’ve had a great year and look forward to the coming year with great anticipation.

Thank you all for your support and readership through the last two years of the blog!


September 2014 sales numbers

It was a big downer last month, with ALL plug-in sales decreasing, some worse than others.

Sales, compared to the previous month, looked like this:

  • Chevy Volt: DOWN 44% (1,394 vs. 2,511)
  • Nissan Leaf: slightly down by 10% (2,881 vs. 3,186)
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: DOWN 57% (353 vs. 818)*
  • Tesla Model S: who knows? I’m thinking about dropping it.
  • Cadillac ELR: DOWN 43% (111 vs. 196)
  • BMW i3: almost unchanged (1,022 vs. 1,025)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: DOWN 48% (640 VS. 1,222)
  • Ford C-Max Energi: DOWN 36% (1,050 vs. 831)
  • Chevy Corvette Stingray: down 8% (2,679 vs. 3,060)***

*Quite honestly, if this didn’t carry the Prius name, I wouldn’t understand why people buy it at all.

These numbers reflect what I’ve been seeing all month. Even very experienced salespeople have been struggling to produce a fraction of their usual output. Traffic at the dealership has been down, in a striking fashion. I had heard many other dealerships were experiencing similar slow-downs. The numbers seem to prove that out. Out of all the plug-in vehicles I track, the only ray of sunshine seems to be the Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3.

The Leaf, coming off six months of sales above 2,000 units, dropped only 10% and still posted more sales last month than any month of Volt sales except for August of 2013. That month was the only time the Volt posted more than 3,000 sales, in a single month. For the all-time leader in U.S. plug-in sales, the year-to-date sales showed steadily increasing volume, until a precipitous drop last month. The Plug-in Prius, arced through the year, starting at a lowly 803 units in January, reaching a respectable peak of 2,692 units in May and then experiencing a steady decline back to 818 in August, mirroring its climb. Then the bottom fell out last month, with a paltry 353 sold. The Cadillac ELR has been pretty anemic and dealers are starting to offer extended demonstration drives and then discounting those units substantially. The one we test drove for the upcoming review listed at $80K but was discounted to $57K within a month of our drive. After a slow start, the BMW i3 jumped from the mid-300’s to over 1,000 units. This month, it repeated above 1,000 cars sold with a drop of only 3 units. The Fusion Energi and C-Mac Energi from Ford, like most of the other EVs last month, posted steep declines in sales.

What’s going on here? As I mentioned, my observations lead me to believe this slump is affecting more than just EV sales. It seems to be across the board. In the case of the Volt, are the hints about Volt 2.0 starting to hurt sales? Having worked for Apple in the past, I am familiar with sales dropping as anticipation for the new device builds. Do you think that has anything to do with Volt sales languishing?

September 2014 EV Sales Graphs

Sales, compared to the same month a year ago, looked like this:

  • Chevy Volt: down 21% (1,394 vs. 1,766) .
  • Nissan Leaf: up 48% (2,881 vs. 1,953)
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: DOWN 69% (353 vs. 1,152)
  • Cadillac ELR: (did not exist a year ago)
  • BMW i3: (did not exist a year ago)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: down 15% (640 vs. 750)
  • Ford C-Max Energi: down 11% (677 vs. 758)
  • Chevy Corvette Stingray: way up 297% (2,467 vs. 831)

Gas prices continue to decline with the end of the Summer season but do not seem to be impacting EV sales.

Easy steps to a better America

Easy steps to a better America:

1) Vote against ALL incumbents in Washington. We, the people, are the power brokers. Not the lobbyists. Not the big donors. Not the corporations. Us. As in U.S. However, we are a lazy bunch. We don’t want to spend our free time studying every issue. That’s why we have elected representatives. We don’t elect rulers. We elect servants. When, as a class, our servants fail to serve, we should dismiss them. This has clearly become the case in Washington. We hold the leash but seldom do we jerk it. It’s high time we did.

That being said, I do not side with those who want to change the lifetime appointments of justices to the Supreme Court. I believe the Court has to remain free of influence, including influence of public opinion. As we have seen, the general public is emotional and tends to make hasty decisions without proper deliberation (Iraq, racial integration, etc). The Court has to step back, to take a wider view of history and the Constitution. Often it has to make decisions that are counter to the opinions of the general public, but are aligned with our Constitution.

As for elected officials, the Founders were either incredibly lucky or incredibly wise in the term lengths of political offices. Those with shorter terms (members of the House) are more influenced by public sentiment and seem to be more emotional or hasty when making decisions. Those with longer terms (members of the Senate) seem more deliberate and cautious, as they are not up for reelection, and therefore answerable to public opinion, as often. The President is right in the middle, and with the power of the veto, a balance between the hasty and deliberate. The exception to this is the President serving a second term. In effect, the last term is a lame duck term lasting four years. Unable to run again, the lame duck President has the luxury of being more deliberate, knowing there is no reelection with which to be concerned. He/she may want to assure their successor is from the same political party, in order to preserve the legacy they leave behind, but that does not carry the same urgency as wanting to remain President. Those in the legislature, who become lame ducks, only have that fate/luxury for a few weeks. Recently, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas argued that the Senate should not confirm Presidential appointments during the lame duck period as these Senators are no longer affirmed in their office, since they failed to be reelected or have decided to retire at the end of their current term. I disagree wholeheartedly. Senators in that position are able to vote their conscience, without fear of losing their office. We desperately need people who vote their conscience. In fact, I believe it is time to enact term limits for legislators.

I also feel that elected officials, as our servants, should not have benefits unavailable to the rest of us. No special health benefits. They can have whatever programs exist for the general population. No lifetime pensions. How many of you have a pension? If elected officials had to look forward to depending on Social Security, like most Americans, perhaps they’d be better stewards of it. I’m not completely against pensions, as some of us have them. They help insulate our representatives from financial influence. That being said, no one should be guaranteed a lifetime of leisure after a relatively short time on the job. The Founders envisioned citizen legislators that would return to private life after their time in the Capitol was over, but they did not codify this in the Constitution. It’s time we amended it to reflect the reality of our political system.

2) Fire your favorite pundits. At both ends of the political spectrum, radio, television and other media have found that facts don’t sell nearly as well as conflict. Those of us who listen to political discourse almost always choose to listen to those who reinforce our views, rather than challenge our views. Should we just have yes men/women informing us, or should we try to understand both sides of an issue, before taking a position? It’s much easier (and more comfortable) to be told our natural inclinations are correct. The pundits have divided us to the point we can’t speak civilly to those with differing opinions. Don’t believe me? Check out any Facebook posting with a political position. The comments after the posting will be full of vile name-calling. We would not speak to another person like that, if he/she were standing in front of us, so why do we do so when we’re anonymously typing away in the privacy of our homes? I remember a time when news organizations tried to present both sides of a debate. That was a public service. Today’s news organizations no longer do this. We control their funding by controlling their advertising revenue. Editorials are fine, as long as they’re labeled as such and are not the entire program. Again, time to jerk the leash.

3) Trust your fellow citizens. I truly believe the vast majority of us are well-intentioned, kind-hearted people. Just look at how America jumps to aid victims of natural disasters. How many times have you donated to those suffering around the world? Most of us are middle-of-the-road, fiscally conservative and socially progressive.

We have to trust that the vast majority of people on welfare are not cheats, defrauding the system. I myself have collected unemployment compensation, while trying to find work. Sometime, especially during tough economic conditions, that can take a very long time. As it has already been shown in Florida, the vast majority of those on unemployment do not have illicit drugs in their bodies. So why are we throwing away more money for drug testing people on unemployment than we’re spending on those who are defrauding the system? It’s OUR money! Demand that it be spent wisely.

Most of us want secure borders for our country, but not to the point that people fleeing violence or repressive governments are kept out at gunpoint. America’s strength comes from our society being a melting pot. We take the best people have to offer and build a brighter future. We won World War II, in part because brilliant physicists fled Nazi Germany. We landed men on the moon, in large part, by leveraging the experience of those who created V2 rockets that rained down on London. Will our culture change due to the influx of outsiders? Of course! It always has been so. Immigrant waves from Ireland, Italy, China, Vietnam, Mexico and many other countries have changed our culture and language. Do you know the words pizza, spaghetti, taco, huevos, crepes, bon apetit, adios, amigo, slainte, merci, etc? Are those additions to our language in any way threatening?

We all want clean air, potable water, a viable job market, economic growth. These things are not exclusive. At one time we knew that. Conservatives like Nixon championed these causes that the media would now have us believe are the realms of one party/ideology exclusively.

This trust in your fellow citizens is a prerequisite of item #1 above.

4) Accept that might does not make right. We cannot solve every international disagreement militarily, even though we may have the power to do so. By forcing our views on the world, we are growing the next generation of enemies. Are there truly evil foes that can only be defeated by military force? Yes, and our history shows we will shed our blood in just causes. However, our history also shows that the American public will tire and eventually resist conflicts that are unjust or untenable. We need to get better at discerning between the two, when the drums of war begin beating, rather than having to admit that we were wrong, after killing thousands (and losing thousands of our younger generation), in the process.

5) Read, understand and protect the Constitution of the United States. Accept that certain principles were included in it for our own good, even if you don’t like them. Separation of church and state, for instance, is a great idea. It was included in the Constitution because of the repeated civil wars in England. Those wars were fought over different ideologies of a single religion, namely Christianity, but were actually fought to grab political power (as most wars are). Want your child to be able to pray as part of a school function? Accept that if this is allowed, the prayers of every other religion would also have to be allowed, including some you may find reprehensible. (see how the Satanic Church is being allowed to hand out booklets of their religious beliefs, just because a school district allowed Christians to distribute Bibles on campus) Yes, America was primarily founded by Christians (and some atheist/agnostics that might surprise you). It was also founded by slave owners, and those that believed women should not work outside the home, and that women, or those who don’t own real estate, should not vote. At least they were smart enough to realize no religion should be established by the government. We should not deify the founders of our country. We should understand them, warts and all. Sometimes, understanding a person’s shortcomings helps us to marvel at their successes.

In summary, we have a wonderful country that is under attack from within. We alone can protect it and ensure it continues as a beacon of hope, well into the future. In fact, it’s our duty to do so.

You’re invited to a discussion about climate science

You are cordially invited to attend the Humanists of Fort Worth meeting on Wednesday, Oct 8th, at 7:00 p.m. The location is The Westside Unitarian Universalist Church at 901 Page Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas 76110

Here’s the program to be presented:

Are humans causing global climate change? What is the evidence? What will happen to the planet? Why do people disagree about it? What can be done about it?

A lot of people in Texas either (1) deny that the planet is warming , often claiming that it is cooling, or (2) accept that the planet is warming but deny that humans are causing it.

At the October meeting, we are privileged to have Dr. Michael Slattery explain the evidence for anthropogenic climate change. He has spoken on this topic to a wide range of audiences including coal and chemical industry groups. He enjoys speaking to audiences who are skeptical, and he will entertain questions anyone has, during his presentation.

Professor Slattery is the Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies at TCU. He obtained his D.Phil from Oxford in 1994. Among numerous other publications, he is the author of Contemporary Environmental Issues which is now in its third edition.

This will be a fascinating and informative presentation by a renowned expert.

Feel free to forward this to your friends and colleagues who might be interested in attending, but please RSVP to Sam Baker at sambaker@hotmail.com

National Drive Electric Week 2014 DFW: A look back

NDEW in the Service BayI was exhausted after National Drive Electric Week. I had worked “bell-to-bell” at my dealership that week, meaning that I was there every hour we were open, except for leaving for meals and picking up my new iPhone early Friday morning. I had wondered how an entire week dedicated to EV awareness would turn out. Here’s the bottom line:

  • More people came to the dealership or called, specifically looking for EV information.
  • We did not sell a single Chevy Volt during the week, although several customers came close to pulling the trigger.

Was the week a complete flop? In my opinion, it was not because it offered lessons from which we can learn:

Classic Sign & NDEWLesson 1: Organizers have got to start planning earlier. Much earlier. As we kicked around ideas in the DFW area (and we had some great ones) we discovered that the really exciting things we wanted to do could not be set up in time. Specifically, having the event in a park or large stadium parking lot, required coordinating with city government to reserve a spot and police help with directing traffic and setting up a ride & drive area. Getting live music meant finding and networking with local musicians who would donate their talents to the cause. Getting vendors to attend (i.e. electricity providers, solar panel companies, food vendors, etc) would require much earlier scheduling to avoid conflicts with their calendars.

Lesson 2: A better understanding of each group’s motivations and goals is needed. Everyone involved wanted to see increased adoption of electric vehicles. However, EV enthusiasts want to also see their group’s membership (and prominence) increased. Dealerships want to see EV sales and/or dealership traffic increased (without much effort or cost). These things don’t have to be exclusive of one another, but there has to be a frank discussion of goals and there has to be a leader to coordinate efforts to everyone’s benefit.

Lesson 3: The chronological order of events is important. Having the big “meet up” at the end of the week means dealerships don’t benefit from the focus on EVs, until after NDEW has ended. Saturdays are very big sales days at car dealerships and they are reluctant to do anything that might interfere with sales on that day. In my opinion, having National Drive Electric Week begin on a Monday was a major mistake. That makes Sunday, the only day where motivated dealership personnel could attend an event (and bring cars for the public to try), the final day of the celebration with no way to leverage that momentum during NDEW.

Lesson 4: Due to tight profit margins, a long educational sale cycle for EVs and conflicting events (like truck month), dealership participation is muted or nonexistent. I heard from other EV enthusiasts, working for car dealerships, complain that there was no buy-in from upper management. Consequently there was no advertising or promotion of the event included in the weekly advertising cycle of area dealerships. Although there are pockets of cooperation within dealerships (like an excellent effort put forth by the Service Managers at Classic Chevrolet to make a huge Service bay available for EVers), there is largely indifference from other departments and sales personnel.

Lesson 5: As a friend of mine, Charlie Hodges, who runs a public relations firm said, those setting up the event need “to engage a media relations expert with a record and knowledge to attract news coverage. No one knew of these events cause they got -0- media attention.” There are professional who do this sort of thing. Some of them may be EV enthusiasts that, like the rest of us, would donate their time and effort to making NDEW a success. Those of us pushing the movement forward have to understand that there are others who have skills we do not. We have to involve them in the early planning so the event benefits from their area of expertise.

Lesson 6: We need to learn from the success of others. Several NDEW events across the country we far more successful than ours in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. We need to reach out to the organizers of those successful events and learn what they have already learned. Specifically, the event in Austin seems to have been a huge success, even though both last year and this year it rained on their major event day. They had live music, food vendors and others. Time for a pow-wow!

Now that the lessons have been enumerated, let’s move on to what I observed.

Volt DisplayThe salesperson who sits next to me had a great suggestion. He said I should attach a Volt charger to a display we have, touting a free year of charging. That display would be positioned next to a Volt, in the showroom, with the charge cord inserted into the Volt. What a GREAT idea! Why had this not occurred to me before? (have I mentioned I’m not a promotions expert?) This one change at our dealership started more Volt conversations than any other display I’ve put up in the year I’ve been there! Sheer brilliance! Many thanks to my friend, Steve Thomas, for this bit of advice.

Scotty's Tesla RoadsterEV newbies definitely are as enthusiastic as I was, when it was all new to me. Even better, EV oldies (like me) are still very enthusiastic about their vehicles, and look forward to every opportunity to share what they’re learned with anyone interested (and even some who aren’t…). Also, I found that some of the owners can make your dream come true. For example, I made a new friend on Saturday named Scotty. He joined a small caravan of EVs that came to our dealership to speak with anyone interested. I told Scotty I had started getting interested in EVs by reading about the Tesla Roadster before production started and had lusted over them ever since. He was kind enough to offer me a test drive in the EV of my dreams. He even put it in performance mode so I could get the full experience! Zero to sixty in 3.9 seconds. WHAT A RUSH THAT WAS! Thank you, Scotty.

P.S. More photos will be posted soon. For now, I’ve got to stop blogging and go to work!