Carzam co-founder and former president of Cox Automotive John Bailey has taken a stake in electric car advice channel Electrifying.com.
Industry stalwart Bailey and Electrifying.com founder Ginny Buckley exclusively revealed the news on Car Dealer Live this week.
Speaking on the show – which you can watch at the top of this story – Bailey said the brand’s mantra to clear up the confusion surrounding electric cars and help in-market car buyers make the switch to electric and hybrid cars really interested him.
Bailey said: ‘I have known Ginny for a long time and she dropped me a note last year saying would I mind taking a look at her business plan for Electrifying – I did and I found it fascinating.
‘The angle Ginny and the team are playing in trying to help and educate the world – me included – is really interesting to me.’
He added: ‘Investing is about the people as well as the business and this is a really interesting business.’
Bailey explained his experience of buying an electric car proved there is a strong need for education in both the motor trade and in the wider general public, especially as the UK races towards the 2030 cut-off point for the sale of pure petrol and diesel cars.
‘My view is you get more information from Electrifying than you would from a dealer,’ he explained.
‘I bought an electric car earlier this year, and in my experience while the dealer was knowledgable, they weren’t as knowledgeable as I thought they would be.
‘Electrifying helps to fill that void in the marketplace.’
Electrifying.com launched two weeks after the first national lockdown in 2020, and was founded by the well-known motoring journalist and TV presenter Ginny Buckley.
Fronted by Buckley along with Formula-E’s Nicki Shields and former Fifth Gear and Top Gear America presenter Tom Ford, the business’ website and YouTube channel aims to ‘clear the air’ around electric and hybrid cars.
‘I didn’t want to set out and do another website just about cars – quite frankly the world has got enough of them,’ said Buckley in the exclusive video interview above.
‘I’ve felt that personality-led car reviews are really missing and there’s a bit of disconnect between car advice, dealer and OEM sites and the people who actually buy cars. So, with Electrifying.com, I really set out to change that.
‘We’re different because we really want to clear the air around electric and hybrid cars and we do that in a very accessible, personality-led way.’
The pair explained that while the electric car market is growing exponentially in the UK, consumers are still confused.
‘What we’ve done as an industry with electric and hybrid cars is really confuse people – we’ve closed off the sector and people are confused,’ explained Buckley.
‘We try and help confused in-market car buyers make the transition to an electric or hybrid car and we bring that independent, trusted advice in an accessible, authoritative, personality-led style.
‘We don’t preach to the converted and if an electric car isn’t suitable for someone then fine – we know people are on a journey.’
The electric car education process is needed across the board, said Buckley.
‘Electric cars are a real leveller – you can have real petrolheads who are hugely experienced and the minute you present them with a charging cable, range, battery life and kilowatts, they’re confused – and it’s confusing for everybody.’
She added: ‘As we move towards this ban of pure petrols and diesels in 2030, everybody needs educating. As an industry we are asking people to change habits of a lifetime, so supporting consumers on that journey is absolutely key.’
If your business can survive through a lockdown when the good days come back you’re in a far better position
Along with investing in the business, it’s expected Bailey will bring some of his Cox Automotive and Carzam experience to the table – particularly regarding online car sales.
Along with Electrifying, Carzam came to market during a turbulent 2020 and was delayed because of lockdowns.
Bailey said: ‘If your business can survive through a lockdown when the good days come back you’re in a far better position.’
He added consumers are showing a readiness to transact online and it’s only going to grow.
‘People are ready to buy online – it’s why we set up Carzam,’ he said. ‘In my Cox Automotive days, we would look at the market around the world and cars are no different from buying any other product.
‘You go back 10 years to Amazon and eBay and people were nervous, but now they’re not and why should buying a car be any different?
‘Yes, it is a learning curve as it’s a big purchase, but as long as protections are in place and the trust is there, I believe it will accelerate just like it is in other markets like the US.
‘At Carzam we have already sold £20m-worth of cars and 1,600 cars in the first eight weeks – on a business whose launch was delayed because of lockdown.
‘That’s way more than we thought we could sell in that period of time, and it gives us great confidence that the consumer is ready to buy online.
‘It won’t replace car dealers but is part of the new and used car business.’