Will Best Buy Service EVs, Even After Electric Scooter Failure?
Back in May 2011, Best Buy announced they would be shutting down sales of their electric scooters in 27 markets due to lackluster sales. Spokesperson Kelly Groehler told BNET that there’s a huge barrier with consumers about how they’ll charge the vehicles. She also dismissed rumours of Best Buy planning on releasing an EV, saying they’re not making any commitments.
Yeah, lagging sales could be due to customer confusion about the charging process. Or maybe it has something to do with lack of dedicated sales people, little commitment to marketing the product and no charging stations installed in front of stores to show it’s easy to give the battery a quick boost. While it takes hours to charge the scooters completely, anything would have made the scooters more attractive than just leaving them on display in Best Buy stores without charging options.
Toyota made sure to open the first pipeline-fed hydrogen station back in May in anticipation of their hydrogen-fueled car, promised to arrive in 2015. The San Francisco government is giving free charging for EVs until the end of 2013 to encourage EV adoption, so Best Buy could have easily done something similar in front of their stores in an attempt to boost scooter sales. Sounds to me like Best Buy was using them to hop on the green bandwagon, with little support for actually selling the things.
Now Best Buy has told Seeking Alpha that they see an EV as a “computer on wheels.” Meaning that like any computer, EVs eventually break down or need service. Best Buy has made deals with Ford and Mitsubishi for installation and support of home EV charging stations, but could the Geek Squad come to your rescue when your EV breaks down? It’s all speculative at this point, but Best Buy could eventually perform maintenance on your EV in your own driveway, much like Tesla’s Mobile Service Rangers but for other EV brands. Tesla Mobile Service Rangers perform inspections, firmware upgrades and other services at customers’ homes. Such a service could encourage EV adoption, showing maintenance on an EV is easy and accessible. But first you have to believe than an EV can be simplified to a “computer on wheels.”