How Athlon Spain offers customers a taste of sustainable driving
What better way to get drivers excited about electric mobility than to have them try out an EV for a week? This simple idea from the Athlon Spain team turned into an innovative event that yielded some eye-opening insights when customers took place behind the wheel of our Mercedes EQE.
Since September 2022 the Athlon Spain team has been giving EV oriented customers the opportunity to try out a Mercedes-Benz EQE for a week. The goal? Introduce them to the many benefits of electric driving and let them experience how electric vehicles work and can be used in both a business and a personal context. Up to now, about 20 people have been given the experience to drive our Mercedes Benz EQE for a week, and the trial will continue in the coming months.
“It was a really interesting experiment”, says Marketing & Communications Manager Ester Díaz. “At Athlon Spain we've been guiding our customers towards EVs for a while now, but we still felt some hesitation in our customer base. Mostly because of range anxiety. But the idea of giving them a firsthand try with the EQE proved to be a hit.”
“Athlon Spain has been guiding customers towards electric driving for a while. We’re happy this project was a hit.”
Marketing & Communications Manager Ester Diaz
“We tried to make the experience go as smoothly as possible,” Key Account Manager Oscar Barahona continues. “We gave drivers a short briefing before the test drive: an introduction to charging, details about the range of the car, the horsepower and of course features like the infotainment system. Unique about the test drive we offer is that it’s not for a few hours, but an entire week. This means customers also experience the planning and the charging aspect of driving an EV.”
“We also got support from the dealers and from Mercedes-Benz, to really give drivers peace of mind during the trial and to provide the best possible experience.”
“Unique about our test drive is that it lasts a week. This means customers also experience the planning and the charging aspect of driving an EV.”
Key Account Manager Oscar Barahona
Athlon delivered more than a car. They delivered a message. Ester: “Helping our customers understand how they can move to a more sustainable fleet is one of our main missions. To do that, you have to communicate clearly about every aspect of the driving experience: not only the pros like sustainability or cost benefits but also the cons, like the limited availability of charging stations in Spain. That way, they can make informed decisions for their own fleet.”
When it comes to the EQE model, customers’ reactions were very positive, says Alejandro Novo. “Most drivers really love the way the car performs. Comfort is one of the main things they’re excited about: the sound level, smooth suspension, the infotainment system that guides you to the nearest charging station, etc. The experience built trust and that helped make it easy for the driver to get used to this new way of driving.
From the brake system to the quality of the steering wheel, Mercedes-Benz really outdid itself with this model. In the end, you’re driving a piece of technology. Of course, testers also shared their worries. Alejandro: “Long trips really need to be planned, whether it’s for personal or professional use. That’s something drivers are still worried about.”
Challenges in Spain
Ronald van Slooten, e-Mobility Program Manager at Athlon International, confirms that Spain is still facing challenges to have electric driving really take off. “Spain currently has about 17,000 public charging points, which is not much compared to gamechanger countries like the Netherlands which has more than 100,000. However, installing charging stations is a big investment for a country, especially a big country like Spain that's sparsly populated. That's why for now they will focus on fast charging stations.”
“In regards to electric driving infrastructure, Spain still has some catching up to do. But strong partnerships will help speed things up.”
e-Mobility Program Manager Ronald van Slooten
Partnerships between car manufacturers and energy companies can help speed the process up. “You can see manufacturers like Porsche teaming up with Iberdrola, a leader in renewable energy, but also Mercedes-Benz Mobility. They are currently building the Mercedes-Benz Charging Hubs with partners in the US and Canada, with other regions around the globe to follow soon.”
A glimpse of the future
For the Athlon Spain team it’s clear which direction they’re headed. Ester Diaz: “Moving to a greener fleet is becoming a given for most companies if they really want to attain their sustainability goals and create a smaller impact on the world. The question is not if, but when.”
A hopeful sign for Ester: “In 2022, 36% of all registered vehicles at Athlon Spain were electrified vehicles (EV+hybrid), so we’re definitely going in the right direction. And for us, the task ahead is clear as well: we want to do a follow-up with all the customers who tried out this vehicle, and really dig into the results of this experience. You’ll surely hear more about this project in the future.”
Interested in EV?
If you want to learn more about EV and what you and your company need to start driving, please reach out to your local sales team.