While the idea that group/bulk purchasing can bring down the individual costs of ownership for various products is itself a widely known one, the concept hasn’t been put to use much to date with regard to the purchase of electric vehicles.
This has begun to change in recent days though, with a recent program in Colorado even managing to lower the cost of a Nissan LEAF purchase by several thousand dollars for local participants — all while driving sales up significantly, to all-time-highs in the regions affected.
The SouthWest Energy Efficiency Program (SWEEP) — which is a bulk-purchasing program sponsored by Adams, Boulder, and Denver Counties — managed to sell 248 Nissan LEAFs in only 4 months as a result of such an approach, which is double the sales of the previous year for the areas in question. That means that during the time period of September 2015 through December 2015, the program accounted for around 5% of all US Nissan LEAF sales.
Gas 2 provides more information:
A similar program in Fort Collins, Colorado saw sales at the local Nissan dealership more than triple compared to the prior year. A third program in the Salt Lake City area sold 75 electric vehicles in just a 6 week period — double sales in the entire state of Utah for the same period the prior year.
There is another advantage to group sales. According to SWEEP, 72% of the people who participated in the multi-county program in Colorado had no intention of buying an EV until the savings offer changed their mind. That’s important. These programs are not just for those who are already in the market for an electric car. They expand the number of people who are willing to consider owing one.
Interesting, but not surprising, as the recent Tesla Model 3 unveiling showed, pricing seems to be the primary barrier to wider electric vehicle (EV) adoption. If new Nissan LEAFs were priced under $15,000, how many of them would sell in the US?
A final note, taken directly from SWEEP’s website: “One of the…advantages of a group purchase program is that it is a very inexpensive, but high impact, program for a local agency to run. The local agency leverages the collective buying power of their constituents to negotiate a discount from private sector providers (the car dealers and auto companies) and then gets the word out to the community. For a very small outlay of staff time and money you can create a big impact in the community. For example, Boulder County invested only $7,000 in staff time and advertising costs while leveraging over $5 million in EV sales.”
Sounds like a winning choice, and hopefully other counties and regions will follow suit.