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Mystery Shopper exercise shows car dealerships now a major influencer in the decision to buy an EV.

Mystery Shopper exercise shows car dealerships are now a major influencer in the decision to buy an EV.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) launched the Mystery Shopper Report at the SEAI Energy Show, Ireland’s leading business-to-business sustainable energy event, which returned live to the RDS after a two-year absence.

Key findings from the report found that advice from dealerships is an influential factor in consumers purchasing decision making process for EV’s. The research showed that 67% reported that they were satisfied with the service but there is still some room for improvement.

The research also indicates that government incentives, such as the SEAI EV grant and the SEAI home charger grant are determining factors in persuading consumers that EVs are the best option for them.

Declan Meally, Director of Business, Public Sector and Transport at SEAI, said:

The findings show an overall good performance and knowledge of EVs among dealerships but there is room for improvement. Electric vehicles are set to play an important role in the Governments Climate Action Plan towards decarbonising our transport sector, along with promoting more active travel. Car dealership knowledge can be built through actions such as providing additional training and using the SEAI EV cost comparator.”

Some additional findings include:

  • EVs were at least as visible as ICE vehicles in 61% of visits and there was noted evidence of promotional EV material in use by the dealership.
  • 57% of salespeople spontaneously mentioned EVs as an option in response to queries about buying a new car, despite their profile and driving habits being suitable for an EV.
  • After declaring an interest in buying an EV, 75% of salespeople ultimately recommended an EV as the customer’s best option
  • Just over half (54%) of the undercover shoppers rated their salesperson as knowledgeable about EV’s.
  • 72% of shoppers were positive about trusting the information provided to them by the salespeople and just over half of shoppers recorded they were satisfied with the salesperson’s attitude towards EVs.
  • Based on the interaction with the salespeople, the information and advice received, 68% of shoppers indicated they would be more likely to purchase an EV

The top barriers in switching to an EV remains cost and next to this is car size and range anxiety. But recent CSO figures show the average household size in Ireland is 2.75 people and (survey pre-Covid) the main daily car journey for most people was 11km in Dublin and 16km in the rest of the country.

SEAI recommend some actions to improve customer experience arising out of this research.

  • Improve level of knowledge amongst dealership staff about EVs nationally through further training.
  • Promote the benefits of driving an EV through a large-scale communication campaign and roadshow events across the country.
  • Encourage dealerships to utilise the SEAI EV comparator tool
  • Encourage brands to re-work their commission structure to favour EVs over ICE vehicles
  • Continue improving the SEAI grant system to ensure a speedy, easy to use, and efficient service for the EV dealership network
  • Reward EV dealerships through the SEAI EV Dealership of the Year Awards
  • Target full brand participation at a dealer level

SEAI also today announced Fitzpatrick’s Garage in Kildare as National EV Dealer of the Year at SEAI Energy Show 2022. The inaugural SEAI Electric Vehicle Dealership Awards, recognises those dealerships that are working to increase consumers understanding about EVs and their uptake.

Electric vehicles are not only better for the environment but are also more than 70% cheaper to run and are suitable for even the longest Irish journeys. Visit the SEAI website here to read the report and find out more about driving electric.




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