Episode 332 with Laurance Yap: Electrifying Dealerships
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Episode 332 with Laurance Yap: Electrifying Dealerships

Electrify Podcast 332 with Jarod DeAnda and Laurance Yap of Lithia and Driveway LAD

In this Electrify Podcast episode, host Jarod DeAnda chats with Laurance Yap, the Senior Manager of Sustainability at Lithia & Driveway (LAD). LAD is the largest auto retailer in the country and is advancing its educational online marketplace, GreenCars. They discuss the future of car dealerships, the shift to selling electric vehicles (EVs), and how the entire experience is set to change.


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Laurance Yap shares his initial skepticism about EVs and how his journey into the electric vehicle (EV) market has been transformative. He highlights that the GreenCars initiative was spearheaded by LAD’s CEO, Bryan Deboer, who is passionate about sustainability. Deboer’s vision was to create a platform that educates people about EVs, hybrids (HEV), plug-in hybrids (PHEV) and more fuel-efficient vehicles in an unbiased, brand-agnostic manner. GreenCars helps potential EV buyers by providing a curriculum-like experience, including beginner-friendly sections like “EV 101.”

Yap explains that GreenCars is not just about selling the latest EVs but also about providing information on used EVs, charging stations, home charger installations, and incentives available for EV owners. He mentions, “We have a 101 section… if you know nothing about how a battery works, you can learn that.” This comprehensive approach is designed to make the transition to EVs less intimidating for consumers.

One of the significant challenges addressed by Yap is the lack of education among salespeople at car dealerships regarding EVs. He stresses the importance of internal education within dealerships to ensure that sales advisors are well-informed about the latest EV technologies. He shares an example from their training events in Detroit, where salespeople got to test drive various EVs. This hands-on experience proved to be transformative. Yap recounts, “People walked away and they went, wow, like I didn’t realize that that would be that cool.”

Fisker Ocean electric SUV test ride demo at Electrify Expo Long Beach
Fisker Ocean electric SUV test drive at Electrify Expo.

The discussion also touches on the importance of firsthand experience for potential EV buyers. Yap suggests that consumers should take advantage of opportunities to test drive EVs, rent them for extended periods, or even borrow them from dealerships to get a real feel of the ownership experience. He advises, “If your dealership is able to borrow one over a weekend so that you can experience… what’s it going to be like when I run this battery down and have to find charging… it’s transformative.”


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When it comes to the future of green driving, Yap is optimistic about the advancements in battery technology and the potential for significant improvements in the next 10-20 years. He notes that the current state of EV technology is still in its infancy, comparing it to the early days of fuel injection in gasoline cars. Yap believes that the commercial vehicle market, particularly delivery vans and long-haul trucks, will see substantial developments, with hydrogen fuel cells playing a crucial role in the latter.

Yap also addresses common concerns such as range anxiety and the cost of EVs. He explains the importance of understanding the total cost of ownership (TCO), including lower fuel and maintenance costs. He states, “The total cost of ownership piece is so important… the price of a new electric vehicle and a new gasoline vehicle continues to narrow.”

Laurance Yap discusses the future of EVs and car dealerships, highlighting GreenCars' role in educating and transforming the EV buying experience.
Laurance Yap discusses the future of EVs and car dealerships, highlighting GreenCars’ role in educating and transforming the EV buying experience.

GreenCars.com offers various tools to help consumers make informed decisions, including a tool to look up incentives based on location and income. Yap highlights the user-friendly nature of the website, designed to educate users at their own pace and provide all necessary information for a smooth transition to EV ownership.

Laurance Yap’s insights on the podcast provide a comprehensive look at the evolving landscape of car dealerships and the increasing adoption of electric vehicles. GreenCars is at the forefront of this transition, offering a valuable resource for consumers to educate themselves and make informed decisions about their next vehicle purchase.

For more information, visit GreenCars.com and check out their extensive resources and tools designed to simplify the EV buying process.


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AUTHOR: 

RANDI BENTIA

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