Jiffy Lube Sees Initial Success with EV Service Program
The popularity of electric vehicles has grown so much that aftermarket shops can no longer look away, and that leaves the long-term prospects of the quick lube business in a precarious spot.
Though internal combustion engines are still going to dominate the market for the next decade at a minimum, enough drivers are switching to EVs that shops need to start building relationships with and offering services to those customers so they’re not scrambling to do so at a later date.
However, there aren’t enough EVs on the road yet—nor will there be for the next several years—to justify going all-in on EV services.
Jiffy Lube has been working on a pilot program to measure interest in EV services and ultimately find a balance to those two prevailing issues, and at the end of August it launched the first iteration of that service package.
Known as the EV Signature Service, the full-service pilot program is running at seven stores in California, Florida, Oregon and Texas. It includes multi-point safety inspections and tire rotations as well as other battery-focused services.
Jiffy Lube President Edward Hymes says it was inevitable that EV services would be essential
“There's just been a lot of buzz around electric vehicles,” Hymes told ADAPT. ”Regardless of when drivers are really ready to shift to the next generation vehicles, Jiffy Lube must be ready to serve customers.”
The ultimate goal of the EVSS is to bring customers the same speed and convenience and become a top service provider for EVs.
“We are really trying to take that signature service, the oil change, and really adapt that service offering for the energy transition,” Jiffy Lube Marketing Director Sara Smith says. “We want to be prepared, regardless of how quickly that occurs, and we feel like right now is the perfect time to introduce that service.”
Seemingly, the biggest hurdle for that program comes right in the company’s name: EVs don’t require oil or many other traditional lube services that quick oil shops provide. But Smith says the company doesn’t necessarily view the shift to providing EV services as a challenge.
Though oil changes are what Jiffy Lube—and the quick lube industry as a whole—has become most known for, the company has deliberately evolved its business model to become a one-stop shop for all minor maintenance and service needs.
A brand or a chain that becomes known for its quality of services and not necessarily the services themselves can pivot and add on more offerings to satisfy the needs of more customers.
The seven shops offering the EVSS can do tire rotations, cabin and air filters, wiper blades, safety inspections, tires, brakes, and batteries—all of which are necessary on both EVs and ICEs.
“That’s what we believe really sets us up for great success. We aren’t moving away from our personalized service,” Smith says, “and honestly, today we can perform the majority of services on electric vehicles. Minus the oil, of course.”
Hymes says it’s important for quick lube shops to start thinking about this transition now and how your shop can play a role in the changing aftermarket landscape. There will always be a place for independent quick lubes, but they won’t look the same in the coming years.
“To be successful, any business must forecast. We’re already seeing more electric vehicles and hybrids in our service centers today,” Hymes says. “ICE vehicles are going to have a place in the market for quite some time there, but eventually EVs will become the primary vehicle in the market.”
That’s still quite a ways away, though, and Hymes says he’s seen a “big disconnect” between aspirations for widespread EV adoption and the actual planning and production challenges faced to achieve that.
Still, even though there’s plenty of time to prepare, Smith says the pilot program has shown other advantages to making the transition.
Owners are acutely aware of and highly concerned about the long-term return on investment of their vehicle; drivers want high quality, reliable service and are willing to pay for a maintenance provider that they feel is competent and doing a good job.
That, Smith says, is informing how Jiffy Lube is planning for the future, both immediate and long-term.
"As we think about our marketing strategy and work for the future, that trust and confidence, the knowledge and the other cornerstones that Jiffy Lube is built on are going to be incredibly important.”