As we gain momentum and start getting closer to an electric vehicle (EV) future, not only will the car buying consumer change, but the car dealership landscape will also evolve; with OEM’s potentially going direct to the consumer. What does this mean and how will this impact car dealerships in the future?

We see that manufacturing brands like BMW have changed their franchise model to an agency model, and soon we foresee online purchases being a norm from OEM’s especially in an electric future. I recently chatted to Janico Dannhauser, (Product and Pricing Manager Jaguar Land Rover South Africa) and Winstone Jordaan, (Owner Grid Cars) to find out what they thought the future of the car dealer landscape would be like in an EV future.

Change in business models for car dealerships

Some premium manufacturers have recently changed their business model, Jaguar Land Rover have followed this evolution with interest. Jaguar Land Rover have noticed that with a more direct or agency model, there will be certain standards required from manufacturers to make it work; like the need for specialised skills from the sales teams and carefully crafted customer buying experiences.

At the moment Jaguar Land Rover are committed to incorporate more digital approaches in the selling process with tools like Find my Land Rover or Find my Jaguar in the electric vehicle shopping journey.

The need for electric vehicle (EV) ready technicians

As the car dealership landscape changes, technicians in car dealerships need to be EV-ready. What does this mean? In order for car dealerships to offer the specialised skill in an EV future, the technicians in South Africa need to be adequately trained.

Jaguar Land Rover have realised the need to up-skill their current technicians with a focus on electric vehicle training, which Janico explains is a little different from the normal ICE vehicle training processes. Jaguar Land Rover also prides itself in providing on-going refresher training for technicians in preparation for a fully car dealership electric future.

It’s encouraging to see manufacturers like Jaguar Land Rover being focused on the future. If you’re reading this and want to be involved in the future of electric vehicles, visit Jaguar and see whether there’s a possible future career path that you’re interested in by becoming a Jaguar Land Rover technician.

The future of the EV Value chain

When thinking of the future of the charging infrastructure and particularly the EV value chain, the progression and development in battery technology has improved by leaps and bounds.

According to Winstone (GridCars), a year ago we were focused more on producing 60 kilowatt chargers which at the time were the biggest in the country, now we’re talking about 270 kilowatt chargers. One of the challenges is that we currently don’t manufacture these chargers locally, so, opportunities exist for production to be done locally in the future.

The other change that Winstone highlights is that the growing demand for faster charging systems will present new challenges.

An example: if we want to move from 90 kilowatt hours to 200 kilowatt hours, you would need a 10-megawatt connection. This means you would need a much bigger pipe for this kind of charge, which right now is difficult to deliver on. Infrastructure is just not set up to deliver those high levels of energy.

EV technology will be the new norm

As an auto industry, and particularly the car dealership, we are headed into an exciting future. As a car buyer right now, the only time you would look forward to an upgrade in technology in a car would be when you buy the latest model.

With EV’s this will be a thing of the past. The technology and EV software will update remotely over the air, infotainment systems and even potentially the range as battery use controlled by software can be upgraded. So just like how you update your phone, your vehicle will constantly improve.

Janico explains how with the Jaguar I-Pace, consumers are able to customise even the sound the car makes – all for your driving pleasure making it a car that’s worth spending time in – a perfect balance between luxury and performance.