Plugins Galore: Buy Your EV At The Appliance Store

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
plugins galore buy your ev at the appliance store

For decades, car dealers had nightmares about being put out of business by non-car dealers. Cars at Costco? S-Class at Sam’s Club? Except for occasional trials that always flopped, it never happened. As it turns out, not big box stores, but the manufacturers themselves are the dealers’ biggest nightmare. Instead of facing competition that tries to sell cars along with detergent and 2 for the price of 1 peanut butter, car dealers are being culled like mad cows.

Now, there is a new threat: There will be cars that are plugged-in like appliances: EVs. So why not sell a plug-in along with all the other plug-ins, such as washer/dryers? If you are already moving ranges, why not a range of electric cars? That nightmare scenario is already shaping up in Japan.

Mitsubishi told The Nikkei [sub] today that it will partner with home appliance retailer Bic Camera to promote its i-MiEV EV. Despite its name, Bic is much more than a camera store. With more than 27 locations, mostly in and around of Tokyo, it’s the Japanese equivalent of Best Buy and Circuit City of lore.

For starters, four Bic Camera stores in the greater Tokyo area will display the pluggable car and host test-driving events. If people want to buy the car, they will be steered to Mitsubishi dealerships, but who knows how long that may last. Bic Camera is already on record that they actually want to sell EVs at their outlets.

Yamada Denki, Japan’s largest home appliance retailer, is also thinking about selling electric cars at its stores in and near Tokyo, says the Nikkei.

For all who had been complaining about appliance cars: They appear to be closer than we think. Personally, I think EVs will share the same future as the Betamax, the Segway, or the Sony Aibo. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

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7 of 26 comments
  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on Nov 09, 2010

    "Personally, I think EVs will share the same future as the Betamax, the Segway, or the Sony Aibo. Let’s hope I’m wrong." I agree with you as to the non future of the BEV, but why should I hope you are wrong? Do you think I want to drive around in an oversized golf cart?

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Nov 09, 2010

    So will buying a car from a big box retailer be like buying a scooter or tractor from an import tool store like NorthernTool? So where do you get parts? Where are the mechanics with experience with that brand? I understand that a regular repair shop can work on a Chevy but I'm not going to expect them to have much experience with a vehicle made in China or India until those vehicles or products are widespread.

    • See 4 previous
    • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Nov 10, 2010

      I agree there is no market for throwaway cars. Remember the Yugo? Some people here bought them and were about laughed off the road by people who thought a car had to be expensive to be worthy of any respect. Meanwhile I figured a $5K Yugo was a reasonable way to get around. Hell, it was a reconstituted Fiat Panda and plenty of Italians used them everyday. I drove them many times when I lived there and it wasn't bad for 45 mph city streets. Not the car I'd want to go cross-country in though. I think too many people thought a $5K car out to be flawless, good looking and luxurious. I'd be happy with a car reasonably safe, reasonably reliable and cheap to keep on the road. Preferably something I could maintain in my own driveway. I like fancy cars but have no desire to wear them out just going back and forth to work.

  • Probert There's something wrong with that chart. The 9 month numbers for Tesla, in the chart, are closer to Tesla's Q3 numbers. They delivered 343,830 cars in q3 and YoY it is a 40% increase. They sold 363,830 but deliveries were slowed at the end of the quarter - no cars in inventory. For the past 9 months the total sold is 929,910 . So very good performance considering a major shutdown for about a month in China (Covid, factory revamp). Not sure if the chart is also inaccurate for other makers.
  • ToolGuy "...overall length grew only fractionally, from 187.6” in 1994 to 198.7” in 1995."Something very wrong with that sentence. I believe you just overstated the length by 11 inches.
  • ToolGuy There is no level of markup on the Jeep Wrangler which would not be justified or would make it any less desirable [perfectly inelastic demand, i.e., 'I want one']. Source: My 21-year-old daughter.
  • ToolGuy Strong performance from Fiat.
  • Inside Looking Out GM is like America, it does the right thing only after trying everything else.  As General Motors goes, so goes America.