The Kentucky Automobile Dealers Association represents dealers of all types of cars, trucks and SUVs, be they EV, hybrid, or conventionally-fueled. Jason Wilson is the trade group’s president. He says Toyota’s expansion plans come at a time when U.S. EV sales are decelerating, and the reasons for that vary from state to state.
“In Kentucky, for example, EV sales make up about 2% of new car sales, whereas California, it makes up about 25%. And again, some of the reasons are infrastructure, climate, commute times and mileage considerations."
Wilson says as the number of charging stations increase, as is the case in Kentucky, it’s likely EV sales will, too. As for climate, cold snaps this winter surprised some EV owners who couldn’t start their vehicles or found they didn’t go nearly as far.
At Jack Kain Ford in Woodford County, which sells Ford EVs and hybrids, dealer partner Bill Kain says EV sales are down a bit – and that he was somewhat surprised by Toyota’s EV expansion plans.
“I think that from Toyota’s perspective and the media that they had released early on, they didn't seem like they were gonna be making a dramatic EV transition. By doing this, I think that they're making a wise move. They're such a well-managed company and they do such a great job with their products, that it's a positive sign for EVs in general.”
Wilson says Kentucky auto dealers are happy to sell any type of vehicle, but adds, just because the federal government mandates EV sales targets doesn’t mean consumers will meet them.
“Are the consumers actually going to adopt this technology? Does it make sense for them to? Again, going back to if it's a multi-car family, that they need various considerations, or for that person that's just a commuter? It really depends on the use of that. And ultimately, the consumer is going to drive where this whole EV revolution goes, or how it goes.”
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