Should Nissan Copy Renault And Make Electric Vehicle-Only Stores?

Should Nissan Copy Renault And Make Electric Vehicle-Only Stores?

In Berlin, Germany this week, Renault opened up its second electric vehicle-only concept store. It's the second such store in Europe, and it does make me wonder if the same sort of concept would make sense for Nissan to apply in the U.S.

Officially called the Renault Electric Vehicle Experience Centre, Renault's EV store is, like most Tesla stores, located in a busy shopping district near the Gendarmenmarkt square. There are digital and static displays that give information about EVs and the purpose of the store, "is to engage with customers and answer frequently asked questions about electric cars, while promoting the benefits of driving such vehicles," the company says. Test drives and vehicle orders can be arranged at the new store as well.

There's an obvious logic to these sorts of EV stores. Renault has been a leader in electric mobility in Europe for years, but that doesn't mean that every car shopper knows what the deal is.  Renault's senior vice president of electric vehicles business, Gilles Normand, said in a statement that, "More and more motorists are taking a close interest in electric vehicles but they still know little about them. As Europe's most successful EV brand to-date, Renault's objective is consequently to go out and meet these customers, address their questions and ease the switch for those who decide to make the step to an electric life."

European customers are a lot like U.S. car shoppers in that sense. Some know exactly what an EV's kWh number means, but those shoppers are in the minority. Given that Nissan is the electric vehicle sales leader, and that it is part of the same corporate alliance with Renault, would a collection of EV-only storefronts make sense in America? They wouldn't necessarily be able to sell the Leaf there, given our auto dealer laws, but Tesla has had success spreading the EV news with its stores and that's a mission that would undoubtedly help sell more Leafs through normal retail channels.

Renault also operates an EV Experience Centre in Stockholm which opened earlier this year.

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