Richard Norris founded Drive Green in 2017.
They now have 8 employees and are based in the Somerset countryside, 12 miles south of Bristol near Emborough.
What does Drive Green do?
We are a specialist EV-only dealership selling used electric cars mainly.
What is it about your products/services that make them unique?
Although an electric car is now nothing new, the fact we are a 100% electric only specialist car dealership, of the commitment and scale we are is what makes the company unique in the current motor trade. There are obviously other dealerships that sell electric cars (however, not exclusively) and there are also some other and many emerging EV specialists. However, none have committed to it the way we have and for the length of time we have and as a result we are by far the biggest and best known in this space.
How do you deliver a great customer experience?
Myself and none of the team are from the traditional motor trade, so our style of service and approach to car sales is unique to us and very different to what customers have come to expect from a car dealership. Our sales style is very consultative and based around our specialist expertise and unrivalled EV knowledge.
Our overriding aim is to help visitors choose the right electric car for them, based on their lifestyle, budget and needs. Our non-pushy sales style and how refreshing it is, is what comes out again and again in the many great reviews we get. At Drive Green we know what it is to live with electric cars and we know all the cars individually and against one another, which gives us a unique and unbiased viewpoint.
Visitors to the site also get the opportunity to view pretty much every make and model of EV on the market, side by side and with multiple test drives to help them make sure they are choosing the right EV for them. Couple this with our unbiased specialist expertise and Drive Green is the perfect place to get the right EV.
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How is Drive Green helping the growth of the wider EV market?
We started back in the early days of EVs, when the technology was new and met with great scepticism, so over the years we have worked tirelessly through our efforts and marketing to dispel the many myths around EV ownership, as well as to promote the environmental benefits of zero emissions driving. The environmental benefits has always been central to what we do and the culture of the business.
Drive Green originally grew from my other green technology work (with domestic green technologies such as solar PV, heat pumps, bio-mass, off-grid systems, rainwater harvesting etc.) which I had been involved in for many years. At the time, EVs were just another green technology which is why I added them to what I was doing. Now, they are widely accepted as the future of motoring, however, we still continue to push and promote their place in a greener lifestyle, alongside greener living in general.
How have you learned from your mistakes?
Not being from the motor trade there has been lots to learn about the business and its instability. However, what we have learned is to do things our way and not the traditional motor trade way, with our focus on doing the best job we can to help people switch to electric driving. Keeping the business agile in terms of stock holding is also very important as we have learned the peaks and troughs (particularly over the last 2 years) can be very extreme at times.
What do your customers say about Drive Green?
We get incredibly good feedback based around our business ethics and always around our ‘non-pushy sales’, as our customers often describe it. We try really hard to do a good job and it shows in the positive feedback we get. The team is lovely and customers really enjoy their experience.
What are your main challenges and how are you facing up to those?
The biggest challenge we face is getting enough of the right stock to supply the demand. There is definitely a shortage of used EV (and new) compared to the demand level out there. This is especially true of the older and relatively cheaper vehicles, for which the demand is strongest and the supply is smallest.
As the business continues to grow this is becoming more and more of an issue. Currently we manage to overcome it by working really hard with our buying and buying aggressively. It also helps being as well known as we are and with the supply contacts we have built up over the years.
How are you improving your products/services?
We are constantly improving our offering by increasing the range of EVs we stock, with the aim of having pretty much every EV on the market present on our stock list. There is a distinct move towards people wanting to purchase their cars online, so we are fully embracing this change and to make us the best digital EV retailer.
The challenge is to bring what we do so well on the forecourt and over the phone in terms of our expertise and approach to service to a more remote digital platform. We have invested heavily in lots of supporting video content to help advise customers on all matters EV, as well as high quality car reviews with handover and technical instructional videos. It will very shortly be possible for customers to complete a full car purchase fully online on our website. Our supporting videos in particular put remote purchasing from Drive Green leagues ahead of any of our online competitors.
What is next for Drive Green?
The next step for the business is to scale in terms of additional branches, to enable more customers the opportunity to benefit from the full Drive Green forecourt experience. The plan is to set-up EV experience centres in and around London, as well as in the north of England in the near future, as well as the continued expansion of our digital remote sales from our Somerset base. Further on from this, the plan is to continue to make Drive Green the go-to EV brand in this growing marketplace.
To find out more about Drive Green you can visit their website HERE and watch the video below.