GM aims to overcome EV ownership issues with live, digital tours

Battery-electric vehicles made up 5.6 percent of U.S. light-vehicle registrations in 2022, up from 3.1 percent a year earlier, according to Experian data. That figure could be even higher if misconceptions preventing adoption are removed, said Hoss Hassani, GM’s vice president of charging and energy.

That’s where EV Live comes in. But it’s not a sales pitch, GM said.

“This is not about us selling any particular EV. This is about us selling the EV lifestyle. And what we’re finding is people are calling in and they’re walking away from this conversation going, ‘You know what? An EV is right for me today,’ ” Hassani said.

“We know that when we’re having these conversations — meeting customers where they are, not using marketing jargon and acronyms and speaking over or past them, but really having a conversation and being present to hear what their needs are — that we’re getting people who wouldn’t have considered an EV for five or 10 years to start considering an EV today,” he added.

Since it launched in July 2022, EV Live has handled millions of calls and staffed up to about a dozen specialists who communicate with customers in the U.S. and Canada through video calls, said Caley Hill, associate director of GM Energy. The studio features displays on GM’s Ultium battery platform, home and public charging, and commercial and retail vehicles that specialists can use for demonstrations.

Questions generally have focused on EV range, charging, batteries, cost and lifestyle, Hassani said. Questions about sustainability and battery recycling have begun to emerge.

Over time, range has been replaced by home charging as the topic callers ask most about, Hill said.

“What it tells me is people are getting a lot more confident about range,” she said. “They’re feeling like EVs are at parity with a gas-vehicle counterpart.”

The platform has become a tool for training GM’s dealerships. The automaker’s Cadillac and Buick brands both plan to be all-EV by 2030 and have required dealers to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on tooling and training to sell and service future EVs.

EV Live is encouraged and is becoming “an altogether new layer” of training for dealership leaders and their employees, Hassani said. Some also use it in the showroom as part of the vehicle sales process and call in with a customer while at the dealership, he said.

“The opportunity here is for dealers to say, ‘You know what? I just want to plus-up my team on home charging today.’ And that’ll be the conversation,” he said. “It can be five minutes. It can be 30 minutes. It can be with one store, one employee. It can be with 10 stores at the same time. So we really see EV Live playing a very important complementary role.”

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