For many, the roar of the engine brings them as much joy, if not more, than the freedom of the road. These customers are in a group that dealers are used to selling to.
But as a new vehicle segment enters the market, a new customer is following. Electric vehicles, including motorcycles, side-by-sides and city cars, are growing in popularity and are beginning to be sold more frequently at powersports dealerships. In 2011, 30.6 million electric vehicles were sold worldwide, according to a recent report by CompaniesandMarkets.com. The study predicted 51.3 million will be sold in 2021.
And electric vehicle technology isn’t just for autos. EV producers in the powersports industry are pushing forward quickly. Tomberlin, TEAM Industries and Fallbrook Technologies Inc. are speeding up their effort to create electric Tomberlin vehicles. Brammo Inc. recently developed a new Empulse TTX for racing. And Zero Motorcycles announced just this month that it is turning to a dealer network to sell its electric bikes because of increased demand. (Read more about Zero in the August 5th issue of Powersports Business.)
Some dealers are diving in now, hoping to get a jump on the technology. Others are holding off because it doesn’t work for their business plan right now. Either group, or even both groups, of dealers may be correct in taking their stance, but the reality is that electric vehicles are going to be in the industry in some way in the near future. If dealers aren’t soon prepared to serve the environmentally conscious customer looking for a quieter ride, they could be missing out on some profit-building opportunities.