The future is looking collectively electric for the automotive industry.
Various automotive manufacturers are bracing for changes being mandated around the world by various nations.
Here in Canada, the government has announced that it will be mandating electric vehicle sales for non-commercial use by 2035.
Locally, dealerships are amongst the front lines of those preparing for the change. Ryan Plewis, a partner with Plewis Automotive Group which owns various dealerships in Swift Current, thinks that these changes are inevitable.
"Whether it's mandatory or not, we will have electric vehicles to sell in the future," said Plewis. "Currently, we're using a local contractor to install our EV apparatus on-site at Standard Motors. It will also be able to use at the Standard Dodge location, which is right next door. We're well on our way and planning to be ready for this shift."
Swift Current's market sees a good number of folks looking to purchase pickup trucks for the farm. The concern for them will be if an electric vehicle is viable on the farm or out in rural settings away from chargers while on long hauls.
"People still require pickup trucks in particular for more than just transportation," noted Plewis. "They're hammers, a part of their tools for work. People are going to need those kinds of vehicles moving forward just as they do today. I don't really foresee that that will be a problem for us."
Another change is the work around the vehicles. Combustion engines and electric ones have different setups, so the work being done on them is also different. People who make a living by maintaining, upgrading, and repairing vehicles will also need to adapt to the changes coming.
"Training is not new for us," said Plewis. "We have staff, whether they're technicians, salespeople, or parts advisors who are going through training constantly."
Plewis Automotive Group sends its employees across Western Canada every year to learn about new techniques and procedures to ensure that they are up to date on everything new in the automotive world. Plewis stated that 'new' isn't anything new for them in their operations.
For the time being, dealers in Swift Current and across Canada will have to play the cards they are dealt. The laws being implemented still leave room for negotiations between manufacturers and regulators. Hopefully, they can come up with alternatives for situations where electric vehicle technology hasn't advanced to the degree that is demanded by those circumstances.
"In this market, you know there's probably going to be continuing technological change," Plewis said. "That means that we need to continue adapting. We've been adapting since 1910 at this location. At the end of the day, we need to sell vehicles that are provided by manufacturers. We just need to be ready for that change."