The entire U.S. automotive infrastructure is accelerating its preparations for the EV era. For Jiffy Lube International, that means preparing its service outlets to handle electrified vehicles as well as they’ve addressed the aftermarket needs of America’s internal-combustion fleet.
So the company is rolling out a pilot program at seven locations where electric-vehicle ownership is highest, offering a complete package for electric vehicles it calls Electric Vehicle Signature Service.
“Regardless of when drivers shift to EVs, we need to be ready,” Edward Hymes, president of Jiffy Lube, told me. “We want to be one of the first.”
The new EV service includes most of the bells and whistles from Jiffy Lube’s premier service for internal-combustion vehicles, such as a multi-point safety inspection, tire rotation and so on, as well as specific attention to the robust battery systems that power EVs. With more than 2,000 franchised locations across the United States, Jiffy Lube already has been extending its service offerings to conventional vehicles recently with forays into tire care and brake care in addition to its traditional attention to oil changes and other under-the-hood functions.
“Consumers have really transitioned to wanting more of a one-stop shop for all of their auto-maintenance needs, and we’ve evolved,” Hymes said. “Vehicle are more complex and last longer; the average age of our car park now is around 12 years. Maintenance now is much more important in how consumers view vehicles. Particuilar with the next generation: They view a vehicle as more of a utility that allows them to do what they want to do. It’s an investment for them, and they want to maintain it for longer.”
The test markets for the EV service are Santa Barbara, Palo Alto and Los Angeles, in California; two locations in Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; and Miami. “We’re focusing on markets that have higher numbers of EVs for now,” Hymes said.
Houston-based Jiffy Lube, which is a unit of Shell Oil, Jiffy Lube also is beginning to experiment with placing EV-charging stations at its facilities. “We’re trying to determine what’s the best evolution for that,” Hymes said. “Our initial thought was to have almost a top-off service, where we’re charging the vehicle while it’s in the bay for service. We need to think about that. Cahrgers demand infrastructure and extra investment, and there are different types of chargers out there, including portable chargers. Through this pilot, we’ll look at different ways of addressing that, too.”
Ultimately, Hymes said, consumers will validate Jiffy Lube’s strategy — or not — and guide its choices. “The EV driver and owner is a challenge,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we can convince them on value and transparency that’s critical to them in deciding where to service their vehicles. Our brand has considerable equity. It’s important that we get Jiffy Lube seen as a viable and credible solution in EV maintenance.”