Legislators in Oregon are considering a bill that would pay anyone who sells a plug-in hybrid or battery electric car a bonus of $250. The legislation would be funded by a $1 million appropriation and would exclude stores that sell electric cars exclusively. Yes, Tesla, they are talking about you.
The idea behind the proposal is to address the fact that selling electric cars takes longer than selling conventional cars. Most people are not clear about the differences between hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric cars, and the nefarious minions who march to the tune of the Koch Brothers are always busy salting the media with stories that add to the confusion.
People with unanswered questions seldom make buying decisions, which means salespeople must be educators in addition to their normal duties. In sales, moving the highest number of cars in the shortest possible time is the key to making a decent income. That’s why many of them don’t want to invest the time needed to answer people’s questions about electric cars. But if they knew there was a bonus of $250 waiting for them at the end of the sales process, they would get interested in selling them in a hurry.
According to Oregon Representative Phil Barnhart, the typical car salesperson is paid between $100 and $150 per sale and sells about 11 cars a month. Adding $250 would be a powerful incentive to learn more about the electric cars in inventory and guide customers toward them rather than away from them, as often happens today.
Barnhart says EV sales are about 0.82% of the market in Oregon. He thinks incentifying sales staff members could get that number closer to 1%, a level he describes as a “tipping point” for electric car sales. His idea is brilliant, as it puts an economic incentive precisely at the point of sale where it will do the most good. Any electric car advocate would cheer the idea.
There is only one problem. On Barnhart’s own website, he acknowledges that Oregon faces significant challenges to pay for “the most basic services: schools, health care and public safety.” At a February committee hearing, a speaker from Tax Fairness Oregon called the proposed bill “another example of a clever idea in need of state revenues. If you choose to support this measure, you are also deciding that Oregon’s children can do with fewer teachers or days of school.”
Source: Charged EVs