A message from Fiona Howarth: CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles
In 2018, we set out to make it easy for everyone to switch to electric driving. And in 2021, we launched our EV salary sacrifice scheme - now with more than 1,500 companies offering low cost electric cars to their staff. Many of those employees have placed orders and can’t wait to get their new electric car - and we can’t wait to deliver them. However, a few challenges in the market are making that harder right now. In fact, it’s causing challenges across the whole car market - not just EVs. Given the questions we get from speaking to customers everyday - I thought it may be helpful to set out what the issues are, and what we are doing to get ahead of them.
Car manufacturers are struggling to deliver on time due to supply chain issues
Car manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand for new cars because of a number of issues. This started with the well-documented semiconductor shortage, and has been made worse by COVID closing factories in key locations. More recently, the war in Ukraine has caused further challenges for manufacturing, with the country being a key maker of EV parts such as wiring looms, while manufacturers are also experiencing a rising cost of raw materials across the world.
As a result, we have long lead times and then some customers’ cars are being delayed. In rare cases, the manufacturer may even increase the price or change the spec after we have ordered the vehicle - sometimes months after.
We know this can be really disappointing and no one would be more delighted to get you your new EV than us - so we’re continuously working with our customers and car manufacturing partners to find ways to try to get ahead of it.
So what are we doing to help?
- We’re pre-ordering cars so we have a secured supply of popular cars for our customers.
- In this situation, we may have to choose the colour and trim before you have even considered getting the car.
- We choose based on those that have been popular before to have the best chance of having one that suits you - and potentially saving months off the lead time.
- Keeping you updated with estimated delivery dates
- We’ve built a car order tracker so you can see in real time what we are being told about your delivery status.
- We will also try to proactively contact you if there are any changes - to let you know and see if we can do anything to help, such as offering an interim car or an alternative long term EV that we may be able to source more quickly.
- Protecting you against changes in pricing where possible
- For the majority of orders, despite changes in cost across the supply chain, the car cost shouldn’t change. But in some rare cases, manufacturers increase prices even after the order has been placed.
- If this happens, we'll try our best to keep to your original quote but if that’s not possible, we’ll let you know as soon as we can, to give you an updated quote and explore alternative options.
- Interim cars
- We have now set up a fleet of interim cars - that you can take on a short term basis. Should you have a long lead time or a delayed delivery date - we will, where possible, make these available to help keep you mobile.
- When your dream electric car is then available, we’ll switch you over - assuming you haven’t fallen for the interim!!
- We’re still building up this fleet so we can’t guarantee availability, but we’ll always review all options for you. There's also a couple of eligability checks we'll need to do before you can get an interim car.
I’m really proud of what my team is doing every day to help our customers make the switch to driving electric easy, despite the tough market conditions.
Thanks for bearing with us and we hope we have you driving electric very soon.