Fully electronic vehicles like the new Ford Focus Electric and the Nissan Leaf are the new horizon of consumer vehicular transportation. They should also prove to be a new horizon for dealerships, in part because the concept of a vehicle maintenance plan changes as standard motor oil changes are replaced by regular charging. As Automotive News reports, that shift may represent a lost opportunity for Ford dealerships, as Best Buy’s Geek Squad will be installing home charging stations.
The Geek Squad does charging stations
While it is not entirely true that electronic vehicles are devoid of oil – transmissions and CV joints need lubrication, and brakes need fluid – the standard idea of an internal combustion engine oil change does not apply to a fully electric car like the Focus Electric or Leaf.
Enter charging stations
While it might seem as though dealerships would want a piece of the action when it comes to installing charging stations at home for customers, Best Buy wanted it more. As Ford spokesman Dan Pierce told Automotive News, part of the reason the automaker didn’t go for charging stations as part of the package is that the company wanted to differentiate itself from the competition. What that means, apparently, is that Ford wants to bring in a trusted name that consumers have heard of in the home electronics field.
Standardizing the process
One benefit Automotive News sees in Ford’s decision to outsource charging station installations to Best Buy is that it standardizes the process. Rather than having to work out contracts with individual Ford dealerships nationwide, the automaker can go through Best Buy every time. And as Best Buy guarantees the work, the headaches of customer claims are minimized.
While individual dealerships do lose out when it comes to potential vehicle maintenance package dollars involving charging stations, Pierce said that the dealers were OK with that.
“It allows us to take that extra to-do or task away from the dealer,” he said. “It really makes life easier for dealers and at the same time makes life easier for our consumers.”