The role franchised dealers play in the shift to electric vehicles was the main theme discussed by Stephen Latham, Head of Operations at the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) at the Renewable Energy Association’s EV Experience conference held on Tuesday 2 July in London.

Latham analysed current consumer attitudes towards electric cars and the challenges they face. He explained what are the main differentiators that are likely to have a positive effect on the uptake of electric cars. These include a wider range of electric vehicles, reducing costs, improved charging infrastructure and better clarity on Government’s taxation and policies.

Talking about the initiative that the Government has been implementing, Latham mentioned NFDA’s new Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) scheme. EVA is an accreditation scheme for dealers that meet a set of significant standards for retail and aftersales.

Stephen Latham said that franchised dealers play a “crucial role” in the supply chain of today’s market and they will be “instrumental” to the development of the electric vehicle sector.

He explained that in 2017, according to figures from the ICDP, UK motorists who purchased a new or a used car made a total of 15 million visits to physical dealerships. These figures mean that despite the in-depth research conducted online, consumers visit physical dealerships more often than they used to.

“Franchised dealers are aware that their business models will evolve to meet the fast-changing consumer demand. Dealers’ ability to support consumers during their EV buying journey will have a huge impact on the growth of the EV sector and, as a result, will allow the retail automotive industry to embrace the forthcoming changes and continue to thrive”, Latham added.