PlugStar, a service offered by Plug In America, assists consumers and dealers with finding and selling EVs. What sets PlugStar apart from similar programs is its ecosystem approach that assists users from start to finish. There is PlugStar.com, our consumer-facing EV information and shopping site. On the site, a consumer can get all the information they may need about different vehicle models, incentives, local electricians who can install home charging, and information on public charging. In 2022, new models on the market like the Rivian R1T and Lucid Air Dream, can be found on PlugStar.com. Plug In America also offers our EV Support Program, through which anyone can call or email us with any questions about EVs.
Customers can then visit the dealer page where they can find a PlugStar-certified dealer who will provide them with a positive EV buying experience. PlugStar dealers receive in-depth EV sales training and a variety of tools to help them better assist EV consumers. Manufacturers train salespeople on the vehicle itself but PlugStar training focuses on the sheet metal out, including charging and incentive information.
The training includes best practices for driving an EV, how you charge at home and away from home, what the different types of charging are, what incentives may be available, and how to point consumers in the right direction. The program also provides continuing support; it has a call center through which a dealer can contact helpful Plug In America representatives or send their consumers to representatives. If they have sales staff trained by PlugStar, those staff members get a certification.
Training is offered both in-person and through our online training course. Any dealer can sign up for online certification by visiting our Dealer Training page. Anyone, including dealers, utilities, or other partners, can also contact us if they are interested in bringing our in-person training to their area.
PlugStar currently has programs in Sacramento, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Eastern Washington and has completed programs in other areas, including Southern California. In 2022, it is going to relaunch its LA program with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP).
PlugStar has an additional partnership with Chargeway. This pilot program is working to put beacons into dealership showrooms that will help dealers sell vehicles. Consumers go onto one of these beacons and can see what incentives apply to the cars in the showroom, learn about charging, and learn about refueling an EV with electricity in simplified terms.
PlugStar is also working with partners in the Sacramento area, including SMUD, Roseville Electric, and the Placer County Air Pollution Control District, to run additional outreach events, including an EV Advocate FAQ training which will help staff members at Roseville Electric train their staff to answer frequently asked questions from customers. PlugStar is hosting virtual ride and drive events with potential in-person ones later this year.
The program helps consumers all along their EV journey, from going to PlugStar.com for information to calling the EV Support Program with questions to visiting a PlugStar-certified dealer to purchasing an EV.
PlugStar hopes to work with partners to scale up; it will increase its online learning and ensure dealers across the country have access to its training and support. Plug In America wants the program to reach as many dealers as possible in the coming year, and to continue its holistic approach of helping customers and dealers through their entire EV journey.