Plug In America trains dealers to better serve EV customers


Plug In America trains dealers to better serve EV customers

As we continue striving for greater electric vehicle (EV) adoption, a key component is the auto dealership that sells or leases the vehicles. While dealers are great at explaining the specific features of the vehicles, they can’t always answer consumers’ questions about charging, incentives, electricity rates, and other aspects of EV ownership. Plug In America’s PlugStar EV dealer training and certification program bridges that gap by providing dealers with the information and tools to make EV sales easier for consumers and dealers.

At each training session, salespeople from area dealerships attend a three-hour certification course led by experts  in EV sales best practices. Trainees leave with a better understanding of EV basics, federal and regional incentives for new and used EVs, and charging at home and on the go. They also get a tour of PlugStar’s online resources, including a mobile friendly web app that puts the answers to common EV customer questions in the palm of their hand. We also offer a supplemental one-hour, in-dealer training to familiarize a dealership’s entire staff with key facts regarding EVs.

Executive Director Joel Levin presents awards to auto dealers in the San Diego PlugStar EV Dealer Program in January 2020.

Sales staff that complete the course and pass an exam earn PlugStar certification as EV Specialists. Dealers can also earn certification if they meet basic criteria that include:

  • At least two trained PlugStar EV Specialists on staff;
  • Supporting a minimum number of ride and drive events with vehicles and staff; and
  • Complying with program terms and conditions.

Plug In America plans to roll out additional curricula and criteria to support dealers and sales staff that wish to reach higher levels of certification. Silver and Gold levels could be achieved, for example, by demonstrated performance, cumulative experience in EV sales, and completion of advanced coursework by PlugStar certified sales staff.

The program has proven its effectiveness over the past three years of operation. PlugStar trained dealers earn customer ratings averaging 4.6 out of five stars, compared to just 3.5 stars from customers of other dealers. EV buyers are also twice as likely to award a 5-star rating to PlugStar trained dealers. They also sell more EVs. Sales staff that participated in the PlugStar program sell three to five times more EVs than their untrained counterparts. Since 2016, the PlugStar Program has trained over 1,000 dealer and manufacturer sales and sales support staff coast to coast, with more on their way.

Plug In America Program Director Eric Cahill and Program Manager Kathryn Urquhart present awards to outstanding dealers in Los Angeles in September 2019.

Not only is the dealership program beneficial for dealers, but it provides for a great customer experience. When shoppers visit a PlugStar Certified dealer, they can have confidence that the dealer can answer their questions and provide quality customer service. In addition, customers of PlugStar dealers—and the customers they serve—receive six months of unlimited access to Plug In America’s EV Support Program, which provides phone, email, and online support from expert Plug In America staff before, during, and after the sale.

To find PlugStar Certified dealers in your area, visit

The PlugStar program from Plug In America works! Not only did it gives my staff unique tools to meet the needs of our customers, it improved the bottom line of our dealership. We recommend this program.”
—John Driebe, Nissan of Elk Grove


“The PlugStar tool provides us with a one stop shop for everything we need to inform our customers on costs, charging, and incentives.”
—Honda Fleet Manager


“Our sales staff has a much better understanding of incentives and other regional resources for the Prius Prime, and sales are better than expected since the start of the PlugStar program.”
—Toyota Manager


“Our Leaf sales have doubled since the start of PlugStar training and the incentive program.”
—Nissan Sales Manager

Your feedback is also helpful. Submit a review of the dealership(s) you visited or purchased/leased your EV from on to assist other EV shoppers in your area. Visit for your dealership, and click the “Write A Review” button on your dealership’s page.

Plug In America’s programs, including the PlugStar EV Dealer Program, increase EV adoption from coast to coast. Invest in our future by supporting Plug In America.

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