A change in powertrain is not an invitation to fundamentally alter the franchised dealer system, and it shouldn't be an excuse to impose unfunded automaker mandates on dealer networks.
The transition to electric vehicles has been disruptive and chaotic for dealers. They are already being asked to give up much of the EV sales process to the automaker, limiting price negotiation and significantly expanding power supply to prepare for an influx of EVs. Dealerships shouldn't be required to become public charging stations, too.
Automotive News on this week's front page highlights the challenges dealers face as they install EV chargers required by automakers. Each brand has different requirements and preferred vendors, a headache for dealers with multiple franchises. And dealers are forced to stretch beyond their expertise as they work with local power companies to determine how much electricity is needed and how they can expand power supply. They also must work with city planning departments for approvals.
The chargers often require drilling through parking lots, public roads or nearby alleys, and that construction can interrupt business flow. The charging equipment cost isn't a concern for dealers, but adding the infrastructure associated with it is a significant expense: $400,000 to $750,000 on average. Multiply that by a few rooftops, and some dealers are spending millions to offer charging with a monthly operating cost and uncertain returns.