Dealerships Getting Prepared for the rEVolution

Yesterday I had the pleasure of assembly with Alan Ford, the Grasp Technician at Noosa Hyundai, Mazda and Nice Wall (GWM) dealerships. In fact, the primary query I requested was: “What’s a man named Ford doing working in a Hyundai, Mazda and Nice Wall dealership?” Alan helps the dealership and its employees prepare for the rEVolution.


Servicing the Ioniq 5. Image courtesy of Alan Ford.

After a brief stint within the military, Alan educated in engineering and building after which accomplished an apprenticeship in motor mechanics with Daddows, Cooroy. Then he labored at Noosa Honda and Suzuki. The dealership expanded into Hyundai, Subaru, and Lada down the monitor. He has spent most of his time with Hyundai and is now the corporate’s grasp technician. Hyundai begins you as a registered technician, then after extra coaching and expertise, you grow to be an skilled technician, and eventually a grasp technician. It’s a qualification roughly equal to a Certificates 4. Alan is aware of his stuff.

We bought a bit nostalgic when he instructed me he nonetheless has a timing gentle, a dwell meter, and a set of feeler gauges in his instrument package. He nonetheless has to make use of them on some older mannequin automobiles. How issues have modified, even simply on this planet of inner combustion engines. Now he has to cope with Bluetooth, a wi-fi interface, and OTA updates. He’s nonetheless on the instruments, plus he supervises different technicians, mechanics, and apprentices. Guarantee work is an enormous a part of the service supplied, and he’s continuously referred to as on to offer recommendation to prospects — particularly on the electrical fashions.

Eighteen months in the past, Noosa Hyundai grew to become a Blue Drive Vendor, capable of promote the Kona and Ioniq EVs. Alan needed to go to Brisbane for a 2-day course and in addition receives common in-person and on-line coaching. In flip, Alan trains the 25 employees as applicable. His dealership has simply taken on Nice Wall Motor and he has not but obtained any hands-on coaching on the ORA. Despite the fact that they’re already promoting the ORA, it isn’t but listed on the web site.

This dealership is constructive about promoting electrical autos and has attended the Noosa EV Expo with its automobiles — the Ioniq 5 & 6 — and naturally, this yr, with the Nice Wall Motor ORA. Alan was on the expo answering questions from the general public — the salespeople are nonetheless on a steep studying curve.

Alan tells me that the ORA has already had a software program replace, which has improved the driving expertise and elevated the regen braking.


Dealership displaying the ORA on the Noosa EV Expo. Photograph by Majella Waterworth

The dealership’s gross sales employees are taking it in turns to take an EV house for the weekend. “They’re charging them themselves!” They’re comfy with the “granny charger” however are taking a while to get used to high-speed public charging. I can perceive that. They’re used to having a gasoline card on the servo, not downloading an app and understanding the technicalities. However, if they’ll promote the automobiles, they should know what to inform the shoppers. The entire 9 salespeople have pushed the electrical automobiles and brought prospects for check drives.

The Kona EV, with its 150 kW motor, was an enormous hit. “Shredded the tyres on takeoff!” Possibly we shouldn’t inform the boss that!

The ORA additionally bought nice evaluations from the employees, with phrases like “nippy,” “enjoyable,” and “fast.” It’s type of a retro-futuristic fusion cross between a mini and a Volkswagen. “Love the turquoise inside.” Fairly good for a primary EV iteration — no comparability with the Honda Z or the Hyundai Excel. Alan has had prospects suppose “low cost Chinese language garbage,” then they take a look at the match and end of the inside and the expertise included with the automotive and are amazed. GWM has come a great distance from the utes it exported to Australia 12 years in the past. “Low tech Mitsubishi clones with poor paint work, no guide or after gross sales service.” In my view, Chinese language carmakers have made 50 years of progress within the final 4 years.

Two ORAs have been delivered (a protracted vary inexperienced one and an ordinary vary blue one) and three extra are on order. One ORA has already come again in for its first free service, at 1000 km. Alan describes this as “a chunk of thoughts checkup.” Common servicing features a 60 level security verify and is capped at $160 — that’s worth for cash if you end up coping with very new tech.

In a current e-mail replace, Alan tells me that “the demo ORA normal vary in inexperienced has offered and extra are coming. The New Kona EV/Hybrid might be accessible quickly.”

The Ioniq 5 has to have software program updates in workshop. The Ioniq 6 receives them over the air. Each 60,000 km, the coolant needs to be flushed.

The dealership has put in two-3 section JetCharge chargers, 32 amp at 22kW. That’s sufficient to offer 50 km vary per hour. Identical to their petrol counterparts, every EV leaves with a full tank. Inside the subsequent 12 months, the dealership expects to put in a DC quick charger for buyer use. Good thought — it should construct good buyer relationships.


Noosa Hyundai has put in EV chargers. Photograph courtesy Alan Ford.

The salesmen have requested, “when do I cost?” His recommendation: off peak the place attainable, and use your photo voltaic you probably have it. Cost if you get the chance. He tells me that he has gotten most of his information about EVs from really driving one. Two years in the past, the dealership had one Ioniq (this isn’t the 5) and one Kona. He fell in love with Ioniq and purchased it.


Alan accepts supply of his Ioniq. Photograph courtesy of Alan Ford.

In fact, I requested him if he had thought-about the Tesla. Apparently, he had. A few house owners had offered their Teslas to the dealership after which gone on to Tesla and purchased Mannequin Ys. Apparently, Noosa Hyundai gave them a greater value. So, Alan had had loads of alternative to examine and drive the Mannequin 3. Alan prefers to make use of a HUD, bodily knobs and buttons, and doesn’t like Tesla’s minimalistic sprint. He additionally finds the glass roof problematic in Queensland’s warmth.

Up to now 2 years, the dealership has offered about 25 electrical autos (Ioniq, Ioniq 5, Kona, and now ORA). To place that in context, the dealership sells about 150 autos a month. It has offered out of its inventory of Kona EVs and now has an 8-month ready listing.

One car they can’t promote is the Mazda MX 30 demo that’s sitting within the yard. It’s now two years previous and nobody is . It has a spread of solely 180 km (on day). It’s getting some use as a dealership runabout. “My Ioniq has twice the vary and price $15,000 much less.” Don’t even start to check it with the ORA!

I and lots of of readers have had adverse experiences when approaching dealerships in regards to the buy on an electrical car. It’s nice to speak to a dealership that’s proactively making ready for the rEVolution.


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