But in states aligned with California's Zero-Emission Vehicle Program, dealers seem more receptive. The head of the New Jersey Coalition of Automobile Retailers called signing the contract "a no-brainer."
The agreement outlines requirements and estimated costs for facility upgrades GM wants in preparation for selling EVs. It's among the latest steps in GM's $20 billion push into EVs and autonomous vehicles. Last week, the automaker announced an alliance with Honda Motor Co. designed in part to help fund and streamline its EV portfolio.
GM sent the agreement to dealers to help plan its EV rollout, GM North America President Steve Carlisle said.
"It's a necessary step that we need to take to achieve our vision of an electrified future," he told Automotive News. "We can communicate what we think is required to create the environment, and we've got to work with the dealers, the dealer councils and the associations to arrive at a conclusion. But we're not at that point yet."
GM did not disclose the number of dealers who have signed the agreement. The process is ongoing, Carlisle said last week.
Hall said the dealers who have balked at the contract aren't against selling EVs, but they want more information on how GM will help them before dedicating hundreds of thousands of dollars to EV sales and service.
"You've got some rural dealers where the demand is not going to be there for the time being," Hall said. "You can't really expect them to want to spend with great enthusiasm a lot of money on something that hasn't hit our marketplace yet."
Carlisle said that as GM continues to reveal its upcoming EVs, awareness and demand will increase. Today, GM has just one U.S. EV: the Chevy Bolt. The automaker plans to launch a crossover version of the Bolt next year and has unveiled the Cadillac Lyriq, a midsize battery-electric crossover, though production is still two years away. GM also plans to reveal the electric GMC Hummer pickup this year and start building it in late 2021.
"As we roll out products and that adoption curve kicks in, the volume will grow," said Car- lisle. "We certainly expect that there will be a return on that. That's our mutual future."