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Certified EV Dealer Program

Connecting EV Buyers with DriveElectricTN Certified EV Dealers

Find an EV Dealer Near You

EV Buyers FAQ

Drive Electric Tennessee has developed the “Certified EV Dealership” program to benefit both EV buyers and car dealerships in the state.

A dealership that is interested in becoming a “Certified EV Dealership” can check out the “Dealer” tab above to learn more about the requirements and benefits of this program.

For EV buyers, this program will allow interested parties the opportunity to learn where EVs are sold in Tennessee as well as know which dealerships are meeting the expectations set forth by DET.

Some of these expectations include attempting to keep EVs on the lot for test drive purposes, installing at least one Level 2 charger on-site for vehicle charging purposes, and completing the DET “EV Training Course” as a way to expand a dealership’s knowledge about EVs and selling them.

EV buyers will be able to come to this page and know that the dealerships included have been vetted by us and our program. You should be able to go to these dealerships with confidence that someone present will have knowledge about EVs and EV charging.

The best place to start is by checking out the dealerships that are included in the DriveElectricTN “Certified EV Dealership” program. The map of dealerships will allow you to see where your nearest electric vehicle dealer can be located.

Purchasing an EV is just like purchasing any other vehicle! You can walk into a dealership to purchase a vehicle, pre-order the latest EV on the market, purchase an EV online using websites like Carvana, or find a used EV at a dealership or at CarMax. Keep in mind that some EV manufacturers like Tesla only sell electric vehicles through their online service.

The PlugStar Shopping Assistant created by Plug In America is a great tool to find the right vehicle fit for you or find vehicles in your area.

This is just a short list of questions you might consider asking the salesperson at a dealership when looking to purchase an electric vehicle.

  1. What electric vehicles do you have available to test drive? Do you allow drivers to test drive vehicles for multiple days to learn more about the vehicle?
  2. What is the full range of this vehicle brand new? What does the range of the vehicle look like in the winter?
  3. Does the vehicle come with a standard, Level 1 charging cable? Can you show it to me?
  4. Does the dealership offer free charging to anyone who purchases a vehicle?
  5. Does the dealership have Level 2 or DC Fast Charging capabilities on-site?
  6. Can anyone at the dealership do maintenance on an EV? Do you know of anywhere local that does EV maintenance or repairs?
  7. What kind of battery does the EV have? How fast can the battery charge?
  8. How old is the vehicle? What does the range of the vehicle look like now compared to brand new?
  9. Does your dealership offer anything included with the purchase of an EV? For example, with a new ICE vehicle, you might include free oil changes.
  10. How does an EV drive different from an ICE vehicle? Can you tell me about regenerative braking or e-pedal mode?

There are three types of electric vehicle (EV) charging. Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast Charging are all charging options that you can utilize with your EV.

You can learn more about the different types of chargers by visiting Drive Electric Tennessee’s “About EV Charging” page.

Most EVs will come with a Level 1 charger that can be plugged into any regular wall outlet to charge your vehicle. Many EV owners will use this at home to charge their vehicle overnight.

Some people decide to install a Level 2 charging unit at their home for faster-charging capabilities. These can range from $400-$1,000 depending on what kind of charging unit you decide to purchase and install. Level 2 units can be plugged into a standard 240V outlet (such as a washer/dryer outlet). Level 2 charging can also be found in public places such as Tennessee state parks for convenient charging capabilities when you travel to a destination. This is often called “destination charging.”

DC Fast Charging is something EV drivers rarely need unless they are taking long car trips. These stations can be found all around the U.S. with varying capabilities to quickly charge an EV when you are on the road. More information about this type of charging can be found on the “About EV Charging” page.

Most EV drivers charge their cars at their homes most of the time unless they live in a multi-unit dwelling situation such as an apartment or condo. If your apartment or condo does not offer EV charging on-site, you can either request that a station be installed from the land owner or utilize options such as workplace charging or public charging when you are out.

According to Kelly Blue Book from July 12, 2022, “The average price for a new electric vehicle – over $66,000, according to Kelley Blue Book estimates, is well above the industry average and more aligned with luxury prices versus mainstream prices. Hybrid/alternative energy vehicles are selling at just over $39,000 in June, a $3,593 increase over May, and an $8,453 increase versus a year ago. High gas prices are driving consumers to consider electric vehicles, hybrids and smaller, more fuel-efficient gas-powered models.”

Brand new electric vehicles can range in price depending on the vehicle you are looking for. For example, a base model 2022 Tesla Model 3 can cost around $46,990 while the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV can cost approximately $33,500. One of the least expensive EVs on the market is the 2022 Nissan Leaf at $27,400. However, some top-of-the-line or luxury EVs can be pricier such as the Ford F-150 Lightning with Platinum trim (top-of-the-line) for around $90,474.

Used electric vehicles also range in price depending on what you are looking for, where you are looking to purchase one, and what year the vehicle is. Carvana, an online car dealership, has a 2015 Nissan Leaf priced at $17,990 and a 2015 BMW i3 priced at $21,990.

When purchasing a used EV, remember that the features the vehicle has, the mileage on the car, the range of the vehicle, and how old it is all factor into the cost. Some vehicles, such as Teslas, can cost more on the used market than other vehicles due to supply and demand.

According to FuelEconomy.gov, All-electric and plug-in hybrid cars purchased new in or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500.”

To learn more about the Federal EV Tax Credit and what vehicles current qualify, visit the link below:

LINK

For information about current rebates and EV incentives in Tennessee, check out the DET page.

Check out this DriveElectricTN article for more information about EV maintenance: “Maintenance Costs for EVs vs. ICE Vehicles

In short, EVs require less maintenance than ICE vehicles because there are significantly fewer moving parts in an EV. EVs do not require the same routine maintenance as ICE vehicles such as oil changes.

Most EV drivers will tell you that the main maintenance they have to do for their vehicle is tire rotations and windshield wiper fluid refills.

You can find answers to all of your questions by…

  1. Visiting the DriveElectricTN EV FAQ page
  2. Contacting one of the DET Certified EV Dealerships
  3. Emailing DET at info@driveelectrictn.org

Benefits for Certified EV Dealers

  • Inclusion on our Certified EV Dealers page for buyers

    Your dealership will be included on a searchable map of Certified EV Dealers in Tennessee. EV buyers will be able to search for Certified EV Dealers based on their location and other factors, including vehicle type and models available. Your dealership’s logo, address, and contact information will be available both on the map and in the list of results below the map.

  • Opportunity to participate in local Ride & Drive events (with dealer promotion in event materials, etc.)

    DriveElectricTN and our partners host EV Ride & Drive events across Tennessee. When an event is happening in your area, your dealership will be the first call we make to secure vehicles for that event, giving you the opportunity to conduct dozens to hundreds of Test Drives depending on the size of the event. When you participate, your dealership will be featured in all digital and physical event materials.

  • Published in a periodical “Certified EV Dealers List”

    DriveElectricTN will produce a periodical “Certified EV Dealers in Tennessee” list that includes all current Certified Dealers, as well as their contact information and models available from your dealership. For each publication, opportunities to promote your dealership as a “Dealership Sponsor” will be made available to you and your team.

  • DriveElectricTN will provide resources to your dealership

    Upon completion of the application process and training course, DriveElectricTN will provide your dealership with resources and materials that can be kept and utilized at your dealership for EV sales purposes. This can include things like EV benefits sheets to provide to sales staff, EV 101 information guides to give to consumers, DriveElectricTN merchandise, and more.

Become a Certified EV Dealer

Certified Dealer Requirements

  • Dealership strives to keep an inventory of at least 2 EVs that are available for purchase.

    Why? Keeping EVs in stock ensures that dealerships are providing a similar buying experience to that of a customer looking for a traditional ICE vehicle. Maintaining a stock of EVs allows dealers to provide test drives and the opportunity to view vehicle options as they would any other vehicle purchase.

  • Dealership maintains at least one sales staff that has completed EV dealership training.

    Why? Sales staff are required to be knowledgeable enough to give the consumer information about ICE vehicles, so EV sales staff should be held to the same standard. Also, this requirement ensures that sales staff do not convince potential EV buyers to purchase an ICE vehicle instead simply because they are not knowledgeable about the EVs.

    Additional Notes:

    • DET will provide EV Dealership training materials that have been developed by the DET Awareness Working Group
  • Dealership has at least one Level 2 charging station installed at the dealership site.

    Why? Dealerships must be able to charge their vehicles for consumers to complete test drives and bring their newly purchased EV back to their residence. Dealership staff must also be able to explain the basics of charging infrastructure to consumers with their own station to use as an example.

    Additional Notes:

    • This charging station can be either a networked or non-networked unit.

Recommendations for Certified EV Dealers

  • Dealership offers charging to consumers, not only for their stock vehicles

    *These can be additional Level 2 charging units or DC Fast Charging units

  • Dealership becomes a DriveElectricTN member so that DET staff can help the dealership continue to promote electric vehicles

  • Dealership offers events and services specifically tailored to EV interested drivers such as multi-day test drives and offering free charging units and/or installation as part of the vehicle package

  • Dealership offers EV information at their site

    This information could include:

    1. Information about home EVSE installations including reputable providers and installers
    2. Information about local incentives from power companies or government organizations
    3. Offering the opportunity to register for the DriveElectricTN specialty license plate
    4. Offering literature about DET, local DET Chapters, and local EV clubs within the dealership as well as directing EV interested consumers toward local chapters
  • Dealership provides EV maintenance incentives

EV Training for Certified Dealers

Click the button below to be taken to the DriveElectricTN Dealer Training Course. If you are interested in becoming a Certified EV Dealer with DriveElectricTN, someone from your dealership (in a managerial or higher position) will need to complete this course and its quizzes.