Sometimes a little madness goes a long way: The Canadian state of Québec is trying to get more EVs in the country to satisfy increasing demand. Racine has just opened a pre-owned EV division offering a free ride in Québec’s “fastest” EV – a pimped Tesla Model 3 – to inspire electric vehicle ownership.
At the grand opening of Racine’s new pre-owned EV dealership, the free ride in the Tesla Model 3 was thanks to the generosity of Quebec’s first Model 3 owner, Ian Pavelko. Opinions may differ on whether the man nicknamed “the mad Hungarian” is simply mad, or just quick off the mark: his nickname evolved because he slept in a tent for 2 days to become Québec’s first Model 3 reservation holder. Ian’s Model 3 is a modified Performance version with upgraded wheels. He has lovingly called it “Magneto,” and claims it is the fastest Model 3 in the world (best time so far is 0–60 mph in 3.12 seconds).
But what about the strategy of using a Tesla Model 3 to sell Racine EVs? What initially may seem a little counter-intuitive – using one brand to sell another – may prove to be the astute business sense of Racine Chevrolet’s president, Florian Boire. He wants to lead the company to become the number 1 dealership for electric vehicle sales in Québec.
But to understand the move, one must first get a bit of context: Québec has been using a pre-owned electric vehicle incentive of $4,000 CAD to increase availability and sales of inexpensive used EVs in the state.
This incentive is part of the Québecois drive to speed up its transport electrification, aiming to have 100,000 EVs in the province by 2020. The problem, however, became the actual availability of EVs. Despite Québec’s Zero Emission Law, which forces manufacturers to offer electric vehicles, availability is smaller than demand.
With this new incentive, drivers have been able to purchase pre-owned EVs from the 1 million used plug-in vehicles in the United States and import them into Québec. This incentive will soon be finishing by December 31st, 2018, but seems to have led to some success. Since it was implemented a year ago, 1,136 plug-in vehicles have been imported from the US.
And now back to Racine Chevrolet: With the goal of becoming the number 1 EV dealership in mind, the company has opened a pre-owned EV division that will sell all kinds of EV brands – not just those from Racine Chevrolet. The dealership has begun this strategy by not only offering its own brands and General Motors EVs – but also Nissan LEAFs and BMW i3s. The idea is that all other EVs will follow, even Teslas. Racine is currently keeping an inventory of 15 pre-owned EVs at the dealership and is working to increase that number to 75.
At last tally towards the end of September, 35,170 EVs had been sold in Québec and sales figures were rising exponentially. Québec apparently achieved a 3.3% EV market share in the second quarter of 2018, which by global comparison, doesn’t fare too badly.