Electric vehicles have dealers stumped on how to make convincing sales pitch

GM Strike-Electric Vehicles
FILE – This Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 file photo shows a Chevrolet Volt hybrid car charging at a ChargePoint charging station at a parking garage in Los Angeles. If U.S. consumers ever ditch fuel burners for electric vehicles, then the United Auto Workers union is in trouble. Gone would be thousands of jobs at engine and transmission plants across the industrial Midwest, replaced by smaller workforces at squeaky-clean mostly automated factories that mix up chemicals to make batteries. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File) Richard Vogel/AP

Electric vehicles have dealers stumped on how to make convincing sales pitch

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Car dealers are struggling to convince the general public to purchase electric vehicles, as the price tags seemingly only entice the upper class.

“People know what electric vehicles are, they know the pluses and the minuses – we’re past that,” Ohio car dealer Rhett Ricart told Business Insider. “What really matters now is making a pitch on affordability.”


“The American public just isn’t ready for them yet,” Ricart went on. “If you’re a rich guy? Sure they’ll buy their Tesla. But now we’re talking about the masses. The cashier at Home Depot or the school teacher.”

Washington, DC-area dealer Vince Sheehy agreed. Despite driving one himself, he claimed that EVs “are the slowest moving vehicles right now on our lot.” Sheehy admitted as a wealthy dealer, he is no longer the electric industry’s target audience.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has opted to slash the prices of his electric models by a quarter, bringing its Model X SUV price tag down $79,990, from $120,990. The move makes the Inflation Reduction Act’s federal tax credit for electric SUVs applicable to the Model X, now that its price is under $80,000. Musk confirmed in an earnings call last month that he was attempting to meet consumers where they are, as according to him, “the thing that must be solved is to make the car affordable.”


The Department of Energy put out a press release earlier this month “correcting the record about electric vehicle sales” to point out a decrease in EV prices by about 20% in June from the year prior. According to the department, consumers should also consider “lower maintenance and fuel costs” in their purchase decisions.

Some 112,483 plug-in vehicles were sold last month, which was over a 22% increase from October 2022. When it came to light duty vehicle purchases nationwide, EVs made up just under 10%.

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