A Dealers Guide to Thriving in the Used EV Market

By Amber Cruickshank

As a Dealer, you know how to hustle in the used car game. Although those previously loved vehicles account for a small percentage of a dealership’s revenue, trade-ins can be a big profit center. Sometimes, used cars can be even more profitable than new cars because dealerships tend to refurbish them in-house, and that can also bring in the coin to your parts and service sales. It’s also very likely your sales team is super comfortable selling pre-owned traditional, internal combustion vehicles and can talk their way around almost any make and model like the pro they are. 

But let’s talk about the future of used car sales…Electric Vehicles. 

Now that EVs are making a large percentage of your used car sales, what do you as a Dealer need to communicate to buyers, and how can you educate your staff so they have the confidence and knowledge to move this new type of metal quickly and efficiently?

Dealers who have been selling traditional gasoline or diesel cars for years may find it challenging to transition to selling used electric vehicles. But the truth is, the used EV market is growing, and dealerships that can successfully adapt to this change will be better positioned for the future.

Knowledge is power. When it comes to selling EVs, ignorance is NOT bliss. There are many reasons that people choose to buy electric vehicles, and it’s important to understand what those reasons are first and foremost. Understanding the needs of a used electric vehicle buyer is crucial to a successful sale because EVs are not one size fits all. 

There are many differences between selling EVs and traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) cars. To succeed in the used EV market, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Range and Battery Health – One of the first questions you should ask a buyer is what they plan on using the EV for. Is it short daily commutes? Longer summer road trips? The range, the distance an EV can travel on a fully charged battery before it is depleted, varies between EVs. Selling a used EV with a short range to someone who needs to travel far distances will only create an unhappy customer. And you might have customers that come to you with no EV knowledge at all, so your sales staff must know and understand the battery range of each used EV on your lot.

Also, unlike traditional cars, used EVs have a battery pack that can degrade over time. The range of a used EV may differ from what the specs say it was when it was new. Dealers need to be able to evaluate a used EV’s battery health and inform customers of any changes. 

Charging and Charging Infrastructure – Customers may be concerned about how long it takes to charge an EV and charging infrastructure availability. Your sales staff should be educated on the different charging options levels and the charging times for each level. 

If an EV on your lot takes more than 20 hours to fully charge on a standard Level 1 (120V) charging outlet, the customer should know that. Most newer EVs come with Level 2 (240V) charging capability but require an outlet like the ones your oven or clothes dryer uses. These little nuggets of knowledge are crucial to selling the right EV to your valued customer. 

You might have buyers that are worried about the availability of charging stations. Dealers can help alleviate these concerns by providing information about local charging stations and home charging options, as mentioned above. Consider carrying different home charging options in your parts department to upsell a faster charging option to your customer. 

Test Drives and Education – Customers may hesitate to buy an EV if this is their first time driving one. Many used EVs sound different, feel different, and many have features unique to electric vehicles, like one-pedal driving. Your sales staff should be comfortable driving your used EVs, understand one-pedal driving and regenerative braking and be able to explain, demonstrate and educate what the benefit of these features are to your buyer. 

Price Point – Used EVs can be more expensive than traditional ICE cars, but their lower maintenance costs and potential for fuel savings over time can make them a better value in the long run. Dealerships that effectively communicate this value proposition to customers may be more successful in selling used EVs.

Be an EV Expert – To be successful in the used EV market, Dealers must also have a solid understanding of the EV market and stay up-to-date on industry trends. For example, they should be aware of new EV models hitting the market, changes in battery technology, and government regulations affecting EV sales. Also, dealerships specializing in selling used EVs can differentiate themselves by offering unique services such as EV maintenance and repair, battery replacement, and home charging station installation. These services can help customers feel more confident about purchasing an EV and provide dealerships with additional revenue streams.

Finally, dealerships should consider investing in EV-specific sales and service staff training. Selling and servicing an EV differs from a traditional ICE car, and the staff must know EVs’ unique features and requirements.

So there you have it, our guide to being a used EV selling machine. The used EV market is growing, and if you can adapt to this change, you will be well-positioned for the future. Have more questions? Leadbox is always here to help. 


Dealer Marketing