Who’s the idiot?

I love my Nissan Leaf. I love owning an electric vehicle (EV), and believe it or not it has made me love driving again. Even today, with the increasing availability of EVs and the public track record of so many owners, some with 60,000 miles logged, purchasing an EV still takes a lot of work. I remember my first question was what’s a KWh? I’m still asking questions.

As owners who are now over our concerns about performance or battery life, people who approach the car and concept of owning an EV with trepidation seem like knuckle draggers to me.

I participate in a lot of events with my car. Some of them “green” and others just outdoor celebrations. I go because I want people to see an EV up close and ask questions, something I didn’t have the opportunity to do early on.

I usually get the same questions at every event. Range, cost to charge, speed, warranty, etc… But at a recent event I had a discussion with a guy that baffled me. “This is a great car, but I could never buy one because I have a young child and its [Nissan Leaf] not able to accommodate a car seat.” What would make him think the car could not accommodate a car seat?!?

Even as I write this it’s inconceivable to me that someone would make that statement with a straight face. After I had time to digest what just happened, I explained to him that not only can you have a car seat, but the Leaf has a list of the best seats for the car.

That gentleman represents the early majority. A group the future of EVs is tied to. Why should we care? Because without the early majority, EVs stand little chance of gaining enough market share to warrant mainstream car manufacturers’ attention, and R&D. If we don’t have those, we don’t have EVs.

That is why I encourage all of us to practice great customer service when confronted with questions. Because how we treat potential EV owners determines how they view electric cars. If our attitude (even though it is sometimes warranted) turns them off from EVs, then ultimately we are the idiots.

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One thought on “Who’s the idiot?

  1. Indeed, we need to remember that there is no such thing as a stupid question. It wasn’t that long ago that I barely knew that electric cars even existed. Now I own one!

    As early adopters of electric vehicles, we are the ambassadors for the wave of early majority EV owners that will be entering the market in the next few years.

    I attended the grand opening of the new Tesla Motors store inside of a mall in White Plains, New York last week. Their approach to marketing the Model S is to be accessible to the general crowd of shoppers who walk by the storefront on their way to Nordstrom.

    When you come inside the Tesla store they have two cars and an electric drivetrain on display. There are also interactive touch displays that explain concepts like range vs speed, charging time and how even electricity generated from coal is cleaner than using gasoline. The store has well-trained, uniformed staff who will patiently answer all questions. It is very much like an Apple store for cars. There is no hard sell, only information.

    Your point is well taken, we are often the first contact someone will have with an EV owner and how that experience goes may determine that individual’s perception of EVs for years to come.

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