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  • Jim Martin

My Most Expensive Test Drive - an introduction to all electric vehicles

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

In 2016 I was in my office when the General Sales Manager came flying in with his head on fire. This was not uncommon. “We have a guest that is trading in his vehicle for a Yukon and I need you to check his trade in out!... I have already got someone lined up to buy it” he said. I walked out onto the drive and there sat a Tesla Model S P85D! “ Uhm… That’s electric and there is only so much that I can check out but I will get right on it,” I said. I had been reading about this particular vehicle and was anxious to drive it so I jumped right into it. .

car sideview mirror

The technology in the car was overwhelming from the instrumentation to the huge center display. I sat in the driveway just trying to acclimate myself to some of the features. We didn't have any product that compared to this level of sophistication, luxury, and pricepoint at the time. Our dealership was in a string of dealerships with a major highway up front and a delivery road behind the dealerships. Probably about the equivalent of a 1 mile square. I was eager to hit the road.


At the edge of the highway I was waiting for a decent gap to test the car. I proceeded to ease out onto the highway and nailed it… WOW! I was so very impressed by the torque that I quickly made the loop, came back to the service drive, and had my assistant service manager jump in for a ride. “WOW” he said. We swung back in and I took another consultant, then another, then the shop foreman, then a gearhead tech. All with a resounding WOW at the conclusion of their ride.


On the seventh lap as I pulled back into the dealership the General Sales Manager and customer was waiting in the service drive. “The deal fell through and the customer needs his car back” he said. I knew this would be a problem. You see, I knew I made seven trips because the instrument panel cluster showed seven huge spikes, from bottom to top for power usage and I had no idea how to clear it! I was not even remotely easy on the vehicle during my drive cycles. Also, the battery range depleted drastically during my drive.


As expected, the customer got in his vehicle and right back out within a matter of seconds. He was quickly making his way to me and the GSM who were standing inside the service office. “Who has been launching my car?” he said. It told him that it was me and I would not have done so if I knew he still owned it. He was clearly and understandably infuriated. At this point the GSM tucked tail and ran into the sales building. I took the guest into my office to prevent the rest of the team and other guests from witnessing his rightfully unpleasant demeanor.


After he vented, I explained that I personally own a CTS-V 6.2L supercharged and wanted to see how it compared. Within seconds his disposition changed. He started asking specifics about my car. Come to find out, he had the same car and traded it in on the Tesla. After a relatively brief conversation about the comparisons of the two he became quite settled and understanding. I thought I was in the clear.


“I can totally appreciate you driving the car that way,” he said. “I would have done the same thing,” he added. “However, I just picked up some freshly painted parts for my Harley and they are in the trunk,” he exclaimed. There was huge lump in my throuat forming and my heart sank as we began walking over to the car. I knew I was not gentle with it. He popped the trunk and sure enough, my driving had damaged the paint on several pieces. I knew it was my fault and I had to make it right. I wound up stroking a $800.00 check for the damages on what would become my most expensive test drive!


One of my staff members had a sore neck later that afternoon. What would have happened if I engaged in ludicrous mode on the car I wondered. As my consultant coped with a little neck pain, I pondered all of the things that I could have bought with my eight hundred bucks and learned a valuable lesson... Be sure the deal is done before you drive a trade in like you stole it!


The performance and technology of electric vehicles is astounding. It is obvious why they will go through tires twice as fast as conventional cars. Electric vehicles are coming. This is a disruptive technology. Its innovation will change the industry as we know it. Are you ready for the opportunities and challenges they will bring to your business?


For a complete service department assessment or a customized approach to your specific needs I can assist you. Feel free to contact me anytime at (813) 602-1964 or director@fixedoperationsdevelopment.com






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