Education is key.

Plug In America recently announced its PlugStar EV dealership training course is now available nationwide via a web-based sales training course. 

For those unaware of who Plug In America is, they are the leading electric vehicle advocacy group in the US, and have led the charge to transition to clean, electricity-powered cars and light trucks since 2005. 

Plug In America is a non-profit, supporter-driven advocacy group. We are the voice of plug-in vehicle drivers across the country. Our mission is to drive change to accelerate the shift to plug-in vehicles powered by clean, affordable, domestic electricity to reduce our nation’s dependence on petroleum, improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. - From Plug in America's Mission Statement

One of the biggest impediments to putting more electric vehicles on the roads is the need for better education, both for the consumer and for the people tasked with selling the EVs. That's because electric vehicles are much different from their combustion counterparts, and potential customers have lots of questions about them such as:

How long does the battery last?

Where do I charge it?

What do I do if I'm running out of charge and can't make it home?

How much will my electric bill go up?

Can I use an extension cord to plug in?

Can I charge in the rain and snow?

Car salesman showing woman car in dealership

Car sales personnel are very comfortable selling combustion cars because they personally drive them (and probably have been for many years) and the customers are also very familiar with them, so they have fewer questions than they do when shopping for an EV.

The burden to properly prepare dealers should fall on the shoulders of the manufacturers, but unfortunately, they haven't risen to the task of really helping their dealer networks get ready for plug-ins. Left without adequate support, dealers have struggled with topics like the federal tax credit, state rebates, fueling cost comparison to gasoline, finding qualified EVSE installers, and much more.

"Our work has shown that salespeople who are more confident talking about EVs with their customers end up selling a lot more EVs," said Plug In America Executive Director Joel Levin. "I can think of no better way to accelerate this movement than by making our proven PlugStar training widely available to dealers across the country. Many new EV models will be available in the coming months and dealers need to be ready to sell these cars."

Recognizing the need for better EV dealership training, Plug In America started the PlugStar EV dealership program in 2016. Since then, Plug In America’s PlugStar Dealer Training Program has successfully trained over 100 dealerships and 1,000 dealer sales and manufacturer sales support staff from 13 automakers in selected U.S. cities.

We recently reported that the PlugStar program was now being offered in New Jersey, just in time to coincide with the new $5,000 EV point-of-sale rebate being offered in the Garden State.

"A major obstacle to EV adoption is education. That is why NJ CAR partnered with Plug In America to offer PlugStar training to our member dealers and we think dealers across the country could benefit from the valuable, EV specific training they offer." - Jim Appleton, President of NJCAR

Plug In America's web-based dealer EV training course was made possible through a partnership with James Madison University and Virginia Clean Cities.comes in response to a recent Cox Automotive report in which three out of four EV buyers noted the dealer or salesperson strongly influences their purchase decision. The same report found that two-thirds of dealers receive some to no support for marketing and selling EVs from the manufacturer. 

Plug In America will promote dealerships that employ trained EV specialists on PlugStar.com and partner car shopping sites where EV buyers go to start their car-buying experience.

Visit PlugInAmerica.org/EVtraining to learn more.

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Plug In America launches nationwide dealership training on selling electric cars

LAS VEGAS – Plug In America, a nonprofit organization with the mission of advancing widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), today announced the immediate nationwide availability of web-based sales training for auto dealers that sell EVs. The PlugStar training course equips dealer sales staff to serve the distinct needs of buyers considering the switch to cars powered by electricity. Concerns over range, affordability and charging are just a few of the barriers potential EV buyers contend with. The dealer EV training course was made possible through a partnership with James Madison University and Virginia Clean Cities.

The move comes in response to a recent Cox Automotive report in which three out of four EV buyers noted the dealer or salesperson strongly influences their purchase decision. The same report found that two-thirds of dealers receive some to no support for marketing and selling EVs from the manufacturer.

Plug In America issued the announcement at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in Las Vegas. Leaders in the automotive retail sector convene at NADA’s annual convention to learn the latest tools, tactics, technologies and industry trends to support their retail efforts.

Since 2016, Plug In America’s PlugStar Dealer Training Program has successfully trained over 100 dealerships and 1,000 dealer sales and manufacturer sales support staff from 13 automakers in selected U.S. cities. With this step, the training will now be available nationwide to any interested dealers or sales staff. Sales staff that participated in Plug In America’s pilot programs in California sold four times as many EVs as their untrained counterparts. Moreover, surveyed customers at participating dealerships indicated sharply higher satisfaction with the sales experience. (70% indicated that they were “very satisfied” with the sales experience, compared to 35% at non-participating dealerships.)

"Our work has shown that salespeople who are more confident talking about EVs with their customers end up selling a lot more EVs," said Plug In America Executive Director Joel Levin. "I can think of no better way to accelerate this movement than by making our proven PlugStar training widely available to dealers across the country. Many new EV models will be available in the coming months and dealers need to be ready to sell these cars."

“We applaud Plug In America’s efforts to help both dealers and customers tackle the intricacies involved with the sale and ownership of EVs," said NADA President and CEO Peter Welch. "As plug-in options increase in availability, this new training product will greatly assist dealers and their staff with addressing many of the key concerns raised by customers considering an EV purchase.”

President Jim Appleton of NJ CAR, New Jersey’s state dealer association, shared his thoughts on the challenge and how PlugStar addresses the EV market: "A major obstacle to EV adoption is education. That is why NJ CAR partnered with Plug In America to offer PlugStar training to our member dealers and we think dealers across the country could benefit from the valuable, EV specific training they offer."

Plug In America will promote dealerships that employ trained EV specialists on PlugStar.com and partner car shopping sites where EV buyers go to start their car-buying experience.

Visit PlugInAmerica.org/EVtraining to learn more.

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About Plug In America: Plug In America is the nation’s leading independent consumer voice for accelerating the embrace of plug-in electric vehicles in the United States. Formed as a non-profit in 2008, Plug In America provides practical, objective information collected from our coalition of plug-in vehicle drivers, through public outreach and education, policy work and a range of technical advisory services. Our expertise represents the world’s deepest pool of experience of driving and living with plug-in vehicles. We drive electric. You can too. PlugInAmerica.org

About James Madison University: Established in 1908, James Madison University is a community of 22,000 students and 4,000 faculty and staff, nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. JMU offers 124 degree programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels, keeps classes small with a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio and has the highest six-year graduation rate among its peer institutions at 84%. JMU is quickly gaining a national reputation, and ranks as the most recommended university in the nation by students. As the No. 2 Best Public Regional University in the South, students enjoy unusually engaged relationships with world-class faculty, access to top-notch NCAA Division 1 athletics and state-of-the art amenities. Once students graduate they join an esteemed network of around 140,000 Dukes across the globe, giving of their time, talent and treasure to the university. www.jmu.edu