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For anyone who drives an EV.

Episode 50 Transcript

Jun 23, 2020

Here's the complete transcript for Episode 50 where I chat with Jonathan Porterfield about second hand EVs:

(Note this transcript is automatically produced via a third party service and transcriptions errors can arise as a result)

Gary C 0:07
Hello, I'm Gary and this is episode 50 of EV Musings, a podcast about renewables, electric vehicles and things that are interesting to electric vehicle owners. On the show today we're looking at buying a secondhand EV. Before we start, I just wanted to see if you've seen that Tesla have now produced a car that will do 402 miles on a single charge. That is the WLTP range so the actual distance may differ. But this is still a milestone as this now means that the Model S can travel further on a charge than my previous fossil fuel car. A Honda Civic two litre could drive on a full tank of fossil fuel.

Gary C 0:50
Our feature topic today concerns secondhand EVs. Much as we'd like to think that everyone will be able to buy a brand new Eevee and the benefit in kind change for company car scheme will help this for employees who can choose their company cars. The reality is that the secondhand market is something that most people with an Eevee are going to have to look at. As with buying anything with this large a stick price, there will always be issues around ensuring you get the best deal, and that the product you buy is going to be right for you and will work as advertised. In previous episodes, we've talked about the myths surrounding EVs see episode one, for example. And these will always play into the minds of anyone who has concerns about buying an electric car. We all remember the episode of Top Gear where an old Nissan LEAF was shown that had a range of 30 miles before it died. It was implied that this was the rule, not an exception. And the result planted a seed of mistrust into the minds of many people. Nobody explained that it was an early model, had early battery technology and probably been rapid charge so much that it degraded much quicker than was expected. So if you're looking for an EV an excellent place to go would be to visit a mainstream dealer that sells DVDs, right?

Gary C 1:57

Gary C 1:59
Your mainstream dealers usually try to push a fossil fuel car.Why is that?

Jonathan P. 2:03
I think they get more commission of the sale of fossil fuel vehicles

Gary C 2:07
that's Jonathan Porterfield,

Jonathan P. 2:09
I run a business called eco cars. Originally from Leicestershire now based on Orkney,

Gary C 2:15
he understands the issues with going to mainstream dealers,

Jonathan P. 2:17
your traditional franchise dealer, they have sales targets to meet. And they'll have so many units and a manufacturer - Nissan - for instance, just as an example, not picking on Nissan, you know, if they've got several diesel Quashquais, or big four wheel drive nevarez or whatever they called, that month so Nissan say can you shift 50 of these we'll give you x amount to the dealership, and that filters down to the sales manager and he says to his sales to look we've got to shift these because we're gonna get a massive bonus.

Gary C 2:48
This is something that has been reflected anecdotally online with a number of tweets, EV and Retro Roth, who is @GilderandRahl on Twitter, mentioned that he went to a Renault main dealer to buy a Zoe and was told Point Blank that the Zoey - a car that will do almost 200 miles on a charge - wouldn't manage a 60 mile commute in summer as the dealer tried to get him to buy a diesel instead. In fact, this was a prevalent attitude up until quite recently.

Jonathan P. 3:13
So the market particularly in the trade, most dealers would curl the lip at anything with a plug on it was a plug in hybrid like the Outlander which they saw as popular for their customers, but anything, that was a fully EV the trade leasing companies, auction houses would undervalue them because they didn't think you know, anybody would want something that could only do say 70 to 100 miles. So I'd say sort of four or five years ago, I was buying some ridiculously cheap Nissan LEAF 24 kilowatt hour, four years ago onwards. So from 2014/15 onwards, I've seen a steady increase in popularity and that has been reflected in used EV prices just strengthening. And the last 18 months has just seen values increasing, I would just give a brief illustration. So two years ago, I was buying 2012 Peugeot Ion which is the same as a Mitsubishi I-Miec or Citroen c zero for 12 plates with 25/ 30,000 miles, you know in silver in a boring colour, I was paying around about 4000 pounds for those. Two years later for 2012 plate. So 2012 is now two years older. The last one I bought direct from the leasing company, not via auction, I had to pay 5000 pounds. So it's just I've never known it in the motor trade that a bread and butter vehicle if you like a humble I-Miev actually increased in value.

Gary C 4:52
A lot of this is down to education, especially education of the mainstream dealers

Jonathan P. 4:57
I spoketo a very well respected Mainstream Jaguar dealer in the Leicestershire area, by Royal appointment, everyone else can join up the dots. He lent me an iPace over Christmas and I sat with him several times when I was in Leicestershire visiting my parents, very well respected, massive dealership, franchise dealership. And he basically said, right, this whole EV thing. He said, You know what's what's the crack? So I just told him all the usual benefits. So he said, right, if you're in my shoes, and we're sat here as a CEO of a massive dealership, what what can I look to do with regard to servicing and aftercare,which is where dealers make their money?

Jonathan P. 5:37
And I said, Well, you can sell them some tires, you can sell them some screen wash and wiper blades. I said that's about it And he went, well I've got to sell an awful lot of screen wash haven't I? This is said from his beautifully glitzy showroom. So that transition again, is just difficult for these big dealerships to get their head around because their income stream is going to be very quickly reduced.

Gary C 6:02
I asked Jonathan, what sort of people actually buy EVs? He told me that it tends to be the older generation or retired people at the moment. So I asked why not younger people?

Jonathan P. 6:12
Young, I feel for younger people because they desperately want to get into EVs. But there's not really much in the way of cheaper newer electric cars, very often insurance on say, a 15,000 pound decent modern EV. The insurance for an 18 year old is astronomical, depending on where they live. So often, I often hear that that rules about getting on because the shorts cost is just prohibitive for them to buy an Eevee.

Gary C 6:41
So what is the demographic?

Jonathan P. 6:43
people that have sat down and done the maths, or math if you're in the States, they work out that even with a bank loan or repayments or a PCP, they're actually going to save money in the long term. The main type of People that that I have come into contact with. And then you'll get some that are totally into it. Real easy nerds like myself and just want one, whatever the cost.

Gary C 7:13
If you're buying an EV, especially if it's your first TV, you're going to have concerns. What are the main concerns potential purchases have?

Jonathan P. 7:20
it's still the old chestnut is range. You know, when the leaf first came out the 24 kilowatt hour Well, when when it does a genuine hundred miles, I'll think about getting more. And then I heard when it was a genuine 200 miles, I think about one. I think Tesla just to Dave announce the New Model S as a W LTP of 402. There will be some people saying well, when he does 500 miles, I'll think about getting one. So range is still the biggest thing that people get anxious about. And the only way I can get around that reasoning with them politely, is I say go and talk to somebody who you might know is got Navy usually helps. Or if the local to me or if I'll just took him a disbelief keys and so look, just just go and use it for a weekend.

Gary C 8:11
Incidentally, I asked Jonathan, how many EV's there were on Orkney - a place with around 10,000 cars - he told me 350. How many had he sold?

Jonathan P. 8:20
About 300 of them.

Gary C 8:22
That's pretty impressive, right?

Jonathan P. 8:23
Those things it gives me great pleasure to hear here on Orkney because everyone, it's like a big community. There's 22,000 people in Orkney and I can be walking down the high street - when you could walk down the high street - and a customer, a recent customer will come up and they would almost grab me by the shoulders, shake me and stare me in the face and say 'Jonathan it's absolutely brilliant!'

Jonathan P. 8:46
And I go I know and they shake their head. 'No, no, you don't understand. It is absolutely fantastic'. I know. And they then become huge advocates. So that always makes me smile. We do some local shows here in the summer (they've been cancelled this year) but I'll have me stand there with a variety of EVs just chatting with people. And previous customers will stand on the stand with me and engage people in conversation.

Jonathan P. 9:12
And I'll just step back and just let them have a good natter

Gary C 9:16
But back to new purchases of secondhand cars, followers of battery expert Euan McTurk will have seen in his latest Plug Life T elevision episode that he's proved that a secondhand Evie at 6000 pounds is actually cheaper to run than a Ford Focus that was free. What was Jonathan's take on this?

Jonathan P. 9:33
It is, people they very much live in the moment. And they don't they don't look at the long term cost and that is just a constant conversation with people as humans we live for now. So you know people are speak to the they put 60 pounds worth of fossil fuel into a car, particularly appear on all day and a week later they put another 60 pounds worth it. And that's the live from week to week like that and they don't realise Spending 240 pounds a month on fuel when you sit down with him so we're spending that a month, which is that a year and then you throw in tax and service and and then suddenly frown and stare at each other and go, are we really spending that amount? So that is part of the battle is is getting people sat down and with a pen and paper and work it out because most people just don't they just live in the moment for that week.

Gary C 10:25
I asked Jonathan to tell me what his business model was with eco cars

Jonathan P. 10:29
cut through all the smoke and mirrors that everybody perceives the traditional car dealer to be. Someone says to me, look, Jonathan, I've got 11,000 pounds will that give me a 30 kilowatt hour centre leaf when I say yes, I then copy paste all the 30 kilowatt centre leaf I believe will be in their price range at future trade auctions. email them and condition reports where the car is transport costs. The cost for the indemnity fee from the auction house to me I just put 300 pounds on top of the whole deal. That's that's my profit margin, whether it's a 5000 pound twizy or an 80,000 pound Tesla, I charge 300 pounds, just no smoke and mirrors and the customer gets to see my invoices.

Jonathan P. 11:15
I've said I'll buy an 11,000 pound car, and it comes in eight and I've pocketed the rest. No, because you get to see the invoice. This is important that we get people driving Evs and out of fossil fuel cars. Me making nice, you know, thousand/ 1500 pound margin that most dealers would want to make to cover their costs. To me, it's more important to get bums on seats as cheap as possible. And that's what people like.

Gary C 11:39
Obviously, this isn't the same model that mainstream dealers used to sell cars they rely on after sale servicing as a source of income, alongside incentives from the manufacturer. Things are changing and will continue to change and one of the things that will probably need to change is the massive overhead that mainstream dealers tend to keep in their showrooms. People like Jonathan just don't have that problem.

Jonathan P. 11:59
Dealerships certainly have an act just leads me on to the whole buying car by experience. I think he's shifted so quickly because of the likes of Tesla, of course, you know, the traditional car showroom. So I think more and moredealers will move to the online, do a video in fact, as a really well respected dealer now in Stoke Demesh, Specialist Cars Stoke. He's started doing videos, for his petrol and diesel stock.

Jonathan P. 12:28
So that is the way I think the industry is going.

Gary C 12:31
I'll let Jonathan have the last word in this section.

Jonathan P. 12:34
But the thing is, we go through time, I think the population the way we buy anything be it groceries or washing machines. You know, the Amazons of this world are making people realise you can just click a button and have it delivered.

Gary C 12:47
It's time to share a cool renewable or EV thing with your listeners. We're all fans of Formula E on the podcast and we watch the races whenever we can. So we were delighted to see that someone has put together a documentary about the inside story of formula II. The documentary is directed by Academy Award winner Fischer Stevens, who you may remember from movies such as short circuit, and Mark conville. And it's produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. It's well worth a look. It's called 'And we go green', and you can watch it for free on YouTube. And that's the show for today. Hope you enjoyed listening to it. If you want to contact me, use the EV Musings Twitter account @MusingsEV. If you're wanting a quick reference a book to read on your Kindle, I wrote a little something called so you've got an electric it's available on Amazon worldwide for the measly sum of 99p or equivalent. And it's a great little introduction to living with an electric car. At the moment. It's free on Kindle unlimited or if you're in the Kindle lending library. Check it out. Links for everything I've talked about in the podcast today are in the description. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe. It's available on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Please leave a review it helps us raise our visibility and extend our reach in search engines.

Gary C 13:59
Thanks As always to my co founder Simon. You know, he's been doing the Sunday car boot sale thing recently focusing on people who own an EV. I asked him if it's working out for him and he said, No, why not?

Jonathan P. 14:10
You could sell them some tires. You can sell them some screen wash and wiper blades. But that's about it.

Gary C 14:17
Thanks for listening.