Entering The Hybrid Service/Repair Market – The Trainer Video Series
Entering The Hybrid Service/Repair Market
Motor Age — Do you know when the first hybrid traveled American roadways? Your first thought might be the introduction of the Honda Insight, the first mass produced hybrid offered for sale back in 1999. But hybrid and electric vehicle technology actually dates back to 1839, when Robert Anderson of Aberdeen, Scotland built the first electric vehicle.
In 1898, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche built his first car at age 23, the first to use front wheel drive. His second car could be considered the first hybrid; using an internal combustion engine to spin a generator that provided power to electric motors located in the wheel hubs. On battery alone, the car could travel up to 40 miles.
Sound familiar? Sounds like the same performance offered by the Chevy Volt!
In 1900, American car companies made 1,681 steam-powered cars, 1,575 electric cars and only 936 with a gasoline engine. At this point in American automotive history, only the wealthy could afford a car and the majority preferred electric. The reasons? Less noise, less mess, and easier to start!
Beginning in the late ‘60s, electric and hybrid designs were encouraged by the U.S. government as a means to reduce air pollution. With the oil embargo of 1973, interest in these designs got an added government boost as a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Every administration since has enacted programs to fund research in hybrid technology, especially in the area of battery development.
Today, the United States hosts the largest hybrid fleet in the world with nearly 3 million sold since 1999. During the first nine months of 2013, hybrid sales represented 3.32% of total new car sales. Back in 2000 you had two to choose from and today nearly every auto maker offers at least one hybrid model.
With the hybrid fleet aging and warranties expiring, the aftermarket possibilities are beginning to grow. In this edition of the Trainer, we take a departure from our normal technical how-to and talk to some industry experts on what that means to your shop’s bottom line and the right way to enter this potentially lucrative market segment.
Source: Motor Age