The One Where Jo Says Every Car Dealer Needs Splitvolt
I’ve recently had something of a realization about home EV charging, and it’s this: every single car dealership that hopes to sell an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle needs to stock Splitvolt EV Splitter Switch, and they’ll sell one with just about every EV they deliver.
It was a weird, genuine sort of realization, too (despite the “sponsored” tag on this post). When it occurred to me, I swear I heard the “click” of a light switch somewhere off to my right, and very nearly felt the warm glow of an Edison electric lightbulb over my head. And the thing that made it weird wasn’t the idea itself — but rather, how it came to me.
The idea came to me when I bumped into Splitvolt’s CEO, Daniel Liddle, during a speech at the NADA Show’s EV Solution Center I was attending with another good friend, Dan Ruddy, one of Chargeway’s early champions within the Association.
I was about to turn to Mr. Ruddy and explain who Mr. Liddle was, when the whole idea came to me like divine revelation: Every dealer needs Splitvolt.
WHAT IS JO ON ABOUT THIS TIME
Though the annual NADA show calmed down during the COVID lockdowns, this year’s National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) conference in Dallas, TX was back in full force with hundreds of exhibitors, dozens of speakers, and thousands of attendees — and, throughout each day of the high-powered trade show, the floor buzzing with talk of two things: the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data Safeguards Rule that promised to come down like divine wrath upon dealerships who mishandled their customers’ personal and private information, and the continued growth of the electric vehicle market, which grew a “shocking” 65% while the automotive market as-a-whole shrank more than 8%.
To its credit, the NADA is taking the electric vehicle revolution seriously, and is urging its 16,000-strong member base to embrace EVs, and invest in their staff with training and materials that will set them up for success in this new automotive paradigm. Throughout the show, banners talked about EVs, and there were not one but two highly visible sections of the show dedicated to EVs. When I checked in and picked up my press pass, it had an “Ask me about EVs!” button with it (nice touch, NADA guys).
What’s more, almost everyone in the EV charger space was there. I had already managed to talk to Flo, Blink, and other players about their plans for 2023, how they were approaching Ford’s push for dealers to install DC fast charging, and the like.
On the home charging side, I’d also recently interviewed Tracy Price, the CEO of QMerit, about the many challenges facing homeowners trying to safely and affordably add Level 2 EV charging to their garage — and that conversation with Tracy was still fresh in my mind when Dan Liddle’s face popped into my attention.
“OMG,” I said to him. “Yes! Absolutely, yes — every dealer here needs Splitvolt! Of course, you’re here! Where’s your booth? I want to get a picture of it.”
Liddle is used to seeing excited reactions to their innovative products at the various EV and E-mobility shows that Splitvolt participates in across the country, but didn’t seem to know what to make of my excitement at NADA. “No booth today,” he said, calmly. “I’m here checking out the show, trying to decide if it’s worth getting a booth for next year,” he added. “Do you think it would be worth it?”
IT WOULD TOTALLY BE WORTH IT
When I was selling cars and motorcycles in my past life, there was this great, positive wave of excitement throughout the start of the process. Excitement about the vehicle, excitement when the customer and I discovered, together, that the vehicle could fit into their budget, and excitement when an agreement was reached — but then we’d have to wait for the customer to go into the F&I office, and that wait could be long, and slow.
In a dealership, the F&I office is where matters of financing and insurance (hence: F&I) are settled, contracts are signed, and vehicles are registered in the customers’ name. This is also where warranties and service contracts are discussed, and customers’ questions can sometimes take a long time to answer.
Most salespeople will offer customers a cup of coffee or something during the wait, and maybe make small talk with the customers (if they’re new) or avoid them altogether (if they have some experience). The good and great salespeople will use that time to give buyers a tour of the dealership, showing them around the store, and introducing them to an advisor in the service drive who can help set an appointment for a six-month check-up on the vehicle, just to make sure everything is working the way it should and giving the buyer an opportunity to ask questions about scheduled maintenance. From there, the salesperson would introduce the buyer to someone at the parts counter who can help answer questions about floor mats or luggage racks, for example — and, crucially for buyers of EVs and PHEVs, questions about EV charging.
“It’s really a simple question decision tree,” Liddle explained to me, when I first interviewed him back in 2021. “First, do they have a 220 outlet in your home? If they don’t, we’re done — they need to talk to an electrician. If they do, we go on to the next question: is it in their garage, a nearby laundry room, or can they reach it easily from their garage? If the answer is no: electrician. If it’s yes, we go on to the last question: does it look like this plug (NEMA 10-30), or this plug (NEMA 14-30)?”
Image courtesy SplitvoltFrom there, the parts counter rep can add the Splitvolt EV charger to the deal, and the customer can go home with a safe, cETLus safety-certified Level 2 charging solution that solves for every question an EV customer might have. The Splitvolt charger prevents your EV from exceeding the NEC maximum safe charging range, for example, has a built-in safety breaker to ensure that the buyers’ household wiring doesn’t get overloaded, and creates a sort of shield against liability claims in the event the salesperson gives a buyer incorrect technical information that they act upon.
“The dealer can’t screw it up,” I told Dan, while I was explaining the dealer delivery tour process to him and why it made so much sense for dealers to carry Splitvolt Splitter Switches. “The salesperson can’t screw it up, the customer can’t screw it up — they just plug it in, and it works. All the features and benefits you already promote — the built-in safety features, the no need to for the end-user to unscrew any faceplates or do any electrical work themselves, the ability to share an outlet with an appliance or another EV … all of that still applies, and it solves the two biggest pain points a dealer has when discussing home EV charging with a buyer.”
“What are those?” asked Liddle.
“The first is that dealers don’t know how to answer customers’ questions about home EV charging. Splitvolt’s decision tree makes that simple: you either need to contact a qualified, licensed, professional electrician, or you just need what’s in this box,” I said.
“The second is that dealers don’t want to have to solve for a bunch of different EV types. It doesn’t matter if they’re selling a new Audi e-tron or an off-lease Nissan LEAF or a used Tesla they picked up from auction, this is a single product that can serve any EV. And they even get to make a little money off it.”
Dan nodded and thought it over. “OK, well, I gotta go,” he said.
“Where are you going?” I asked. “We’ve just been hanging out a few minutes here, and Matt (Teske, who I host a podcast with) is about to get up and speak.”
“No, I know,” offered Dan. “I need to catch up with the NADA people and lock down my booth space for next year.”
If you’re a dealer reading this, don’t wait for NADA’s next show. Check out Splitvolt.com for yourself, then let me know if you see what I see, in the comments.
This article is supported by Splitvolt.
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