So how do you go about buying an electric car?
It is a fact: interest in electric cars, which was initially limited to a geek minority, is growing exponentially year by year. Would you like to buy one but don’t know where to start? We will tell you how to access this relatively new market
Arnau Gil and Daniel Gracia specialise in the sale of electric cars in Catalonia. The summer and the launching of the Movea Plan turned into a storm that took everything with it. “The Movea Plan ended in a single day”, explains Arnau, who on 3 August dedicated all his time and effort to taking customer orders. “My colleague Daniel is on holiday and this year we’re overwhelmed. The €15 million of government aid vanished in a single day, while last year it lasted a month,” remarks Arnau, who agreed to talk to us during his lunch hour.
It’s obvious that many people are finding out about how to buy an electric car. “Yes, it’s quite an adventure,” affirms Arnau. But if so many people achieve their objective, that means it’s not impossible. We are referring to the not so exaggerated legend about potential customers who go to a dealership to buy an electric car and leave with the keys to a diesel car. “It’s true that there are many dealerships which are not up to date. Some salespeople who have been selling cars for 30 years are now afraid of not being able to answer certain questions. It seems to be true that in some places they end up recommending a diesel car,” continues Arnau. “That’s why I specialised in this. We are exclusively electric car agents,” he assures us.
Step one: choosing the vehicle
There is an increasing number of car manufacturers in the market that advocate electric cars. Choosing yours depends on your preferences, on the distance to be covered, your mobility needs, aesthetic taste, lifestyle, location, budget, etc. You can find complete catalogues for different brands and consult the current most innovative websites, such as movilidadelectrica.com, in addition to leading motor magazines, just as you would when choosing a car with an internal combustion engine. As you will be aware, the most common topics of interest are related to range, power, driving experience and car comfort. Once you have more or less decided, we will continue to the next step.
Step two: previous appointment
For Arnau, the sale of an electric car should follow a series of indispensable guidelines: “When I began working in this I realised how difficult it was to explain what an electric car is and how to use it without a previous appointment. And neither can it all be explained in 20 minutes,” explains the salesman. As in most cases, the method is simple. You call the dealer that interests you most and ask for a test drive. “We recommend a test drive and scheduling an appointment with our product expert, who is in charge of explaining everything about it,” suggests Arnau. “The model is similar to that proposed by Apple with its products and, when we began to do it that way, we realised that the customer obtains a very high degree of satisfaction,” he adds. Right now, Arnau’s overbooked agenda does not mean an excessive delay in the scheduling of appointments: “It’s not usually more than a week and a half after the request.”
Vehicle loan (depending on the dealership)
We are aware that not all dealerships can do it, but some electric car brands lend you the vehicle for 24 hours. “It’s the only way to really try it and come to terms with the reality of a car of these characteristics. Driving it, arriving home, plugging it in, and so on,” explains Arnau. “This weekend we are lending out four vehicles,” he admits.
The salesman explains that he is a direct sales agent, such that the stock at the dealership is only for vehicle test drives and loans. “A binding contract is signed and the car is ordered from the factory,” Arnau tells us, explaining the process. “Each car is manufactured almost on request for each driver who buys it and, until it arrives, the sale is not closed,” he explains. “We don’t ask for any down payment or advance until the customer receives his or her car, which is when the sale is actually made,” concludes Arnau. Each brand probably has its own formula and it is not uncommon to be asked for a down payment or payment in full with the order contract.
Handing over the keys
“We usually have two, three… and up to six sessions to ‘hand over the keys’,” comments Arnau. What he means is that on many occasions doubts about electric cars continue to arise one or two weeks after the purchase, as the buyer begins to drive it. “When the customer collects the car we usually hand over the keys and give a full explanation of around 45 minutes, but usually suggest a second appointment to finish explaining and help our customers to request the blue card, the entry of the car in the Government of Catalonia’s toll database (to circulate free of charge). At this appointment we hand over a more comprehensive manual with all the guidelines for taking full advantage of your electric car. “If customers need further information, we stay by their side,” he explains. Because “electric car customers generally have a profile similar to that of a biker – very passionate – and even after a year they will continue calling you, telling you stories, sending photos by WhatsApp, etc.,” admits Arnau, not without a hint of that passion that seems to infect everyone who drives, sells, buys, writes about or sees themselves with an electric car.
What about the Movea Plan?
It depends on the dealership. You only have to provide your salesperson with Payment Certificates that clearly state that you are up to date with your social security and tax payments. We have already talked about the Movea Plan in this post.