As interest in electric vehicles continues to grow, consumers may find they have a lot of questions that they would like answered even before stepping inside a dealership or taking out a car loan. To that end, General Motors is launching a new online platform called EV Live designed to educate curious car buyers about the brand new world of battery-powered vehicles.
Anyone with questions about EVs who owns a computer or smartphone can log into EV Live to chat in real time with one of GM’s EV experts, who can offer tutorials, vehicle walkarounds, and (perhaps unsubtly) help promote the automaker’s many EV related products.
“We’re hoping to break the internet on Monday,” Hoss Hassani, GM vice president of EV ecosystem, said in a briefing with reporters, citing other moments when the company’s website crashed, such as when reservations were opened for its Chevy Silverado EV and Hummer EV trucks.
But EV Live isn’t in the metaverse, nor will it be powered by bots trained to sound like humans. Instead, GM will be using real-life human beings who will be available for either group discussions or one-on-one chats with customers. Appointments can be scheduled ahead of time. And prerecorded sessions that deal with frequently asked questions will also be available.
These staffers, many of whom are plucked from the automaker’s pool of auto show workers, will field questions from inside a physical studio that’s located near GM’s Detroit headquarters. In the briefing, reporters could see a handful of staffers walking around a brightly lit studio carrying around smartphone gimbals that they were using to record various EV products.
EV Live will also be available to GM’s commercial and fleet customers, who may have questions about how electric vehicles can fit into their businesses. Dealers are also expected to utilize the platform as they expand their electric offerings.
Auto dealers are typically on the frontlines for customer questions about car ownership. But with the shift to electric, many dealers are finding themselves out of their depth in handling the barrage of queries about the latest technology. Hassani said GM is in the midst of a massive training program to bring its dealers more up to speed on the transition to EVs, and EV Live is meant to be “complementary” to that effort.
GM expects of range of questions about EVs, including queries about range, charging, and total cost of ownership. The company says it will attempt to be brand neutral in its responses but most likely end up steering people toward its own lineup of products. And it won’t likely be able to answer any questions that are specific to a competing EV brand, like Tesla.
“We have not trained our staff to be able to answer questions about Tesla battery packs,” Hassani said. “If somebody wants to go deep on a competitor’s experience, of course, they’re welcome to do so through those competitors’ channels.”
And for any internet troll thinking of bombing EV Live with harassment or misinformation, GM says it has procedures in place to shut out those types of users, citing its experience hosting similar online forums with Cadillac and Chevy customers.
“GM has very robust cybersecurity measures in place,” said Caley Hill, EV ecosystem manager at GM.