By Richard Robinson

A 16% year-to-date market share for newly registered Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) is changing the landscape for aftersales in the franchised retail sector, which will only accelerate.

The growth of BEVs and their lower service, maintenance and repair requirements does not represent fresh news. However, the growing number should focus minds on the need to reimagine the aftersales model.

Tyres are one of the frequently touted opportunities, but it’s vital to highlight that this should not just be seen as the chance to put a set of new “boots” on a car, which is not limited to BEVs.

To explain my thinking. The perceived wisdom is that because of the weight of a battery, BEVs are heavier than equivalent ICE cars and will wear out tyres more quickly. Added to this is the increased torque and faster acceleration, which will create more rapid wear. However, under scrutiny, the opportunity can be broader.

As a starting point, the weight difference between a BEV and an ICE equivalent is less dramatic than people think. The weight of the BEV battery is largely offset by the weight of an engine, gearbox, alternator, turbo and tank of fuel that is not needed in a BEV.

Assessing tyre wear, the AA and RAC both report that the front set of tyres on a front-wheel drive ICE car typically lasts 20,000 miles, while the rear set lasts 40,000 miles. Both organisations highlight the importance of tyre rotation to optimise the lifetime wear across the complete set of tyres.

When it comes to the tyre life on a BEV, the RAC reported in May 2022 that a fleet of Nissan Leaf front-wheel electric taxis delivered brand new usually saw rear tyres lasting between 30,000 and 36,000 miles, with the front tyres lasting 20,000 miles – 5,000 to 10,000 lower than an equivalent diesel car. The difference was credited to the additional torque associated with a BEV.

In short, BEV tyres wear slightly quicker than an ICE equivalent, where the driving style and journey type are broadly similar. Diving style is the single most significant factor in tyre wear.

So, if tyre life is comparable, where is the opportunity?

  1. First off, the tyre opportunity is not limited to BEVs. All cars have gotten heavier over recent years, so the opportunity is across all cars. Tyre wear depends mainly on a person’s driving, such as motorway or city driving, and how “spirited” their driving might be.
  2. The next opportunity is tyre rotation as a service; offering to save customers money by extending the life of their tyres can be great for lifetime value and customer loyalty. It is also an additional contact point where series such as charged valeting can feature.
  3. Tyres as part of a winter check to change customers’ tyres to winter specification with a storage and tyre swap fee, complete with an alloy wheel refurbishment offer.

These may not be groundbreaking in isolation, but is your business realising these opportunities? As the market changes, it will be these small agile steps that can make all the difference and see the role of service, maintenance and repair reimagined.