There’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs in the electric vehicle market. Electric vehicles are sweeping the auto industry, and while all the attention is directed at flashy car unveilings and automakers’ strategic plans to compete in an electric future, one crucial piece has largely been left out of the limelight — service. Tesla, the largest electric car maker, has famously struggled with servicing its growing fleet. And with demand for battery-electric cars skyrocketing, it may not be alone.
One entrepreneur recognized the opportunity and moved to capitalize off the demand. Meet Carl Medlock of Medlock & Sons in Seattle. Previously a territory manager for Tesla, from 2009 to 2013, he helped the then-fledging start-up deliver and service its low-volume Roadster. After leaving Tesla, he took his knowledge of EVs and opened a repair shop that quickly became the key place in the Pacific Northwest for owners having problems booking service for their electric cars.
“We’re one of the only places that someone can go for EVs, electric cars,” said Medlock.
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But running an EV-focused shop is quite a bit different from auto repair of the past.
“There are hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tools you need for an ICE [internal combustion engine] repair shop you don’t need here,” Medlock said. “You do need an electrical engineering background or an understanding of diagnostics.”
Getting parts for the Roadster is one of the biggest challenges he faces. “I contact people all over the world, I find out where the wrecked ones are,” he said. “I buy stuff every day from people who have bought these cars and have a little something on their shelf and I’ll buy those parts.”
When he cannot find a part, he makes it himself.
Since he opened his shop, Medlock says business has been booming, and it’s already outgrown the new space it moved into last year.
His advice for the industry? “Embrace these electric cars and start tooling up for it,” he said. “If you don’t, you’re going to be behind.”
Watch the video to learn more about how consumer demand fueled this entrepreneur’s business.
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.