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Demand for EVs at Richmond Auto Mall spikes along with gas prices

“Electric cars are so hot right now. Everyone wants one”: Car salesperson

It’s been busy at the Richmond Auto Mall – at least at certain counters.

With sky-high gas prices, more shoppers are lining up for EVs and fuel-efficient vehicles.

Charlee Daniel was one of them. She recently ditched her gas guzzler for a used Tesla from Richmond Auto Mall after waking up to see prices at the pump hit $2.17 per litre. Last week, that number jumped to $2.22 in Richmond.

“I love my electric car -- no doubt about it,” said Daniel.

Her used 2020 Tesla Model 3 cost her almost $63,000, but Daniel said she’s already recouped the extra cost by saving the $60/week she was spending on gas. Now she spends less than $6.50/week on electricity.

The high oil prices are largely being blamed on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Since gas prices are high, people are asking, ‘Why would I pay so much for a gas car when I can switch to electric and save money,” said Gurvir Grewal, a salesperson with Nissan, which, along with its own models of electric cars such as Leaf, has about 70 used Teslas in its inventory.

“Electric cars are so hot right now. Everyone wants one.”

And it’s not just the electric car market that is booming. Used cars are also in high demand, said Grewal.

“There are no new cars being produced right now because of the automotive microchip shortage. So, with higher gas prices and no new cars on the market, the used car market suddenly got hot,” he explained.

However, a combination of supply chain issues, pent-up demand and low vehicle inventory mean the waiting list is growing longer.

Months ago, clients were told it would be a three to four month wait to get a new electric car. Now the wait is more like eight to 10 months, added Grewal.

Meanwhile, fuel-efficient vehicles are also getting more attention.

Stanley Leung, who has been working as a car consultant for more than 20 years, said since early March, 80 per cent of his customers have expressed an interest in switching to hybrid cars.

“Customers walk in and ask how long the wait is for a hybrid car. They are looking to save in the long-term,” said Leung, adding that hybrid vehicles usually cost from $27,000 to $60,000 depending on the make and model.

Leung’s company, Open Road Toyota, is releasing a new model EV in the coming months, and he already has more than 200 orders for it.

“People’s passion for electric cars isn’t going away; it’s only growing.”

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