As the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) begins to grow, so will the opportunities for electrical contractors. In fact, the two are a natural pairing. Both rely on a steady current of electricity. Without it, they can’t work.
Pun or no pun, manufacturers recognize the obvious and are enlisting contractors to help them reach out to buyers. Despite the growing popularity of the vehicles, and social concerns about the environment, selling them is a complicated proposition.
Consider this: Over the years, cars have become like a basic appliance in almost every household, and drivers are demanding. They expect a vehicle that performs its task with a minimum of expense and upkeep. In short, they may be open to owning a car that doesn’t run on gas or pollute the air, but it also must keep them moving without a lot of hassle.
To achieve this seamless transition to electric vehicles, manufacturers need to develop close partnerships with a variety of important partners, including local governments and utilities. This is where electrical contractors come into the picture.
About the only major home repair project an EV owner might need to embark on would be an upgrade to a dedicated 240-volt (V) outlet. (EVs can be charged on 120V, but the charge time is more than double.)
On the other hand, EV owners are not your typical customer. Most, it is safe to say, are conscientious above and beyond normal levels, to the point of being passionate. They will be curious about their vehicle, how it works, and what they must do to integrate the charging process into their home’s electrical delivery. In short, they will have a lot of questions.
Contractors can answer those questions, explain the process and evaluate their options and the overall health of their home wiring, to ensure charging won’t be problematic. They will be the go-to person for permitting if an owner wants to expand their home’s charging capacity and for information on special dedicated rates from local utilities.
One manufacturer, General Motors, recognizes this dynamic, and has incorporated electrical contractors into the marketing of its electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt. The company has contracted with a third party, SPX Service Solutions, to manage a national, coordinated effort to educate EV owners about home charging and installations. Electrical contractors will be the flesh and bones of that effort.
According to Alex Keros, senior project engineer for GM, electrical contractors “will become the face of GM, SPX and the EVs.”
To become a part of this network, contractors will undergo background checks and some basic training. They can sign up on the SPX website at www.homecharging.spx.com.