Independent garages should be seizing the opportunities offered by a fast-growing electric vehicle market, according to Matt Cleevely, Founder and CEO of Cleevely Group.
Last year, the battery-electric vehicle market achieved its best-ever result, with registrations growing by 17.8%, as the technology took a 16.5% market share. Meanwhile, full hybrid models finished the year up 27.1% to reach a 12.6% share of the market. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) saw gains of 39.3% in 2023, taking a 7.4% market share.
While BEV numbers dropped in November and December, this was likely due to external factors, such as an exceptional end for the technology in 2022, when carmakers pushed to meet their emission targets, and the introduction of the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate meaning carmakers likely held deliveries into 2024.
EVs in the independent aftermarket
Even more important for the independent aftermarket, fleets have driven registrations in the BEV market for the last few months, and when these cars are de-fleeted after three years, their buyers are likely to seek out repair and maintenance work from small workshops, as they will not be tied to a franchised dealer.
“Now is the time for the independent sector to step-up, showcase their expertise, and position themselves as the go-to destination for EV services,” said Matt Cleevely. “The demand for reliable EV servicing and repairs is still on the rise, so there is a unique opportunity for independent garages to match and even exceed the service levels offered by the franchise dealer network.”
SMMT figures show that BEV uptake has risen almost 20-fold in the last five years. EV service and repair work makes up 40% of all jobs that pass through Cleevely Group workshops and data analysis show EVs yield higher average invoice values, better profit margins and improved customer retention.
“We are soaking up a lot of work from all over the country,” said Cleevely. “The dealerships are slow-moving when it comes to EVs so there is an open goal for independents to offer an attractive alternative.”
Training from Cleevely Group
Cleevely Group EV technicians are IMI Level Four qualified and capable of advanced high voltage repairs. However, much of the EV work coming in is for regular servicing and maintenance of steering and suspension, brakes and tyres – jobs independent workshops are already routinely undertaking on Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles.
“The transition over to EV need not be as big as some make out,” said Matt. “We will be hosting a number of EV/hybrid training courses for the trade this year covering everything from how to run an EV workshop to the technician skills needed to effectively service, maintain, and diagnose EV and hybrid charging systems.”
Dates for Cleevely Group training courses are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Garages are advised to stay updated by following Cleevely EV on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cleevelyev.