The impact of electric vehicles on Canadian consumers 

September 20, 2023

While vehicle owners—electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid vehicles, and non-electric vehicles—want their vehicles to last as long as possible, research shows that the way they go about it varies greatly.  

Based on the Electric vehicle maintenance and repair: the Canadian owner’s perspective report which included a survey of 2,000 people, attitudes and preferences towards maintenance and repair among different types of vehicle owners in Canada are drastically different.  

On September 20th, 2023, Jean-François Champagne, president and CEO of AIA Canada, hosted a webinar about the impact of EVs on Canadian consumer trends. Joined by David Giles of Powered EV Ltd, and Rick Nadeau of Quorus Consulting Group, they investigate the preferences and attitudes of Canadian EV owners and the future of the auto care industry. 

Key differences toward maintenance and repair between Canadian vehicle owners  

“EV owners tend to be more tech-savvy,” states Rick Nadeau. “They are more likely to be shopping online, more likely to have heard of telematics, more likely to be confident that they know and understand who has access to that in-car data.” 

They want a repair shop to match their knowledge. According to the data from this report, 21 per cent of EV owners deem themselves very knowledgeable in maintenance and repair, and 49 per cent of hybrid vehicle owners see themselves as somewhat knowledgeable. 

As a result, 45 per cent of EV owners and 44 per cent of hybrid vehicle owners always go to their dealership for maintenance and repair; they feel as if the dealership where they purchased their vehicle has the comprehensive knowledge and skills needed to properly repair their vehicle. In fact, only four per cent of EV owners and five per cent of hybrid vehicle owners exclusively use aftermarket service providers and never go to a dealership. 

Despite those numbers, among those who use dealerships exclusively, 36 per cent of EV owners and 43 per cent of hybrid vehicle owners are aware that aftermarket service providers have the skills, tools and training to service electric vehicles. Still, they continue to seek dealerships for maintenance and repair. 

Non-electric vehicle owners, though, do not show a huge preference between where they seek maintenance and repair. 51 per cent of non-electric vehicle owners use both dealerships and aftermarket service providers, and only 23 per cent of non-electric vehicle owners never go to a dealership for maintenance and repair. 

Industry implications 

Based on the report and Canadian consumer perspectives, one of the current industry implications is that traditional aftermarket service providers are unable to service electric vehicle needs. From the point of view of electric and hybrid vehicle owners, this is due to technical competency. 

However, the interest in using aftermarket service providers increases when vehicle owners learn the following: 

  • Dealerships do not always use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts—they also sometimes use aftermarket parts 
  • Dealerships pay their service advisors a commission and their mechanics are paid a flat rate based on each type of repair 
  • Certain aftermarket parts have longer warranties than their OEM equivalents, and in some cases, their warranties can be lifetime. 

“The more consumers understand about aftermarket parts and part warranty, the more they understand how dealership tech advisors and service advisors are paid does have a positive lift on their views on the aftermarket.” says Rick Nadeau. 

What does the future look like? 

As we transition into widespread EV use, two things need to change. For one, it is the perception of aftermarket service providers—some, if not many, aftermarket service providers do have the skills and training necessary to maintain and repair electric and hybrid vehicles. 

Secondly, it is widespread adoption of EV training in aftermarket service providers. While some aftermarket service providers possess the knowledge necessary to repair EVs, it is not all.  

“Ways in which aftermarket service providers can demonstrate technological savviness is through their operations and customer touchpoints. This could have a positive impact on whether these customers feel they are technologically skilled to maintain and repair their EV or hybrid.” says Rick Nadeau. 

As the EV market continues to grow, aftermarket service providers will need to keep up in order to work on those vehicles safely and effectively. 

Interested in knowing more about Canadian consumer behaviour and the impact of EVs? Purchase the Electric vehicle and repair: the Canadian owner’s perspective report or download the complimentary executive summary.  


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