Auction leaders also said closely examining which locations to overhaul is necessary.
EVs are scarce in some regions of the US, especially areas where charging infrastructure is not built out or where municipalities haven’t addressed equipping power grids to handle that technology, they said. An auction in a particularly hot or cold region could see its operation disrupted if temperatures fluctuate enough to inhibit EV battery performance.
Companies like Manheim, ADESA and America’s Group have a lot of space that can hold EVs for charging. For Manheim’s Huang, whether the grids can service all those EVs is a major unanswered question. Utilities in certain regions are forward-thinking about EVs, she said, while others are not.
“It’s a bit all over the board,” Huang said.
To ease into the EV shift, some wholesalers are considering outsourcing the overhaul of auction house infrastructure, standards and processes. Manheim works with “several different vendors” that help it determine which locations are ideal for EV infrastructure additions, Huang said. The company began investing in that infrastructure in 2019; it now has roughly 16,000 EVs, and hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles on its lots on a given day.
America’s Hitchcock told Automotive News the company is working with sister company Amerit Fleet Solutions to hone its strategy for adding charging stations and sourcing technicians.
“We may end up outsourcing to them some of that, initially, until we see what the flow is really going to look like,” Hitchcock said.
Meanwhile, interest in EVs continues to grow on the dealer’s end. Wholesale prices paid by dealers for certain newer models are particularly strong. Online auction company ACV Auctions Inc. said average auction bids for Rivians and Ford F-150 Lightnings on its platform in 2022 so far have been more than double those for Teslas and EVs overall. The F-150 Lightning debuted on ACV’s platform in June at an average sale amount of $118,130, while EVs on average sold for $55,208, according to ACV.
Auctions providing more battery health details to buyers would be helpful, but it would make more sense if auctions first boosted their EV volumes, said Bill Wallace, president of his namesake auto group in Stuart, Fla.
“Right now, if they had them, we would absolutely be buying them,” Wallace said.