Did you know, word-of-mouth, has the biggest influence on car purchases? Not flashy superbowl commercials, nor price, or rebates. Instead, learning about a car from someone you trust has the highest impact on your purchase choice according to a survey from Auto List. Our fall 2020 electric vehicle survey corroborates this finding as folks in our region responded they trust their friends and family to help them make car buying decisions.

Electric vehicles are rarely available for test drives at dealerships in rural communities. The Electric Vehicle Ambassador program encourages and celebrates electric vehicle owners to allow friends and family to take their vehicle for a spin!

This program pairs “word-of-mouth” with a “ride-and-drive”, both of which have proven to be one of the most important pieces needed for folks to not only consider electric vehicles, but also purchase one. Now why would this be? Well, most people rightfully have a few questions about electric vehicles. The four main hurdles folks have are (1) does the vehicle have enough range for my needs, (2) how and where do I charge the vehicle?, (3) how do I drive this new technology (it can be intimidating!) and (4) what is the cost, I’ve heard they are luxury and way more expensive.

By getting behind the wheel and talking with a friend (EV Ambassador) about these concerns, the ‘EV interested’ can get the answers to these questions and determine for themselves if an electric vehicle is the right choice for them. Often, after driving in an electric vehicle, they are able to determine an EV IS the right vehicle for them, there are several programs that found this to be true.

For example, the Center for Sustainable Energy’s (CSE) Experience Electric #TheBetterRide Campaign Report analyzed the results of a 12-month long, 4,251 test-drive campaign. According to CSE: 11% of surveyed campaign participants purchased or leased an EV within a few months of their Experience Electric test drive. Of this group, 76% stated that the Experience Electric test drive impacted their decision to purchase or lease an EV.”

In another example, the MidWest EVOLVE program hosted “ride and drive” events with over 7,000 test drives. Of those who tested drove the offered electric vehicles, 15% had never driven an electric vehicle before and 21% of “ride and drive” participants ultimately leased or purchased an electric vehicle within a few months of the program.

If you know or want to know one of our EV Ambassadors, we hope you will reach out to them or YTCC staff!

Meet the Electric Vehicle Ambassador Team

Susan Bilo

Susan Bilo

Montana Electric Vehicle Ambassador

I live in Bozeman, Montana, and purchased an all-electric 2022 Chevrolet Bolt in August 2021. I chose an all-electric vehicle (EV) because it is more energy efficient than an internal combustion engine vehicle, and I believe it is critical we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I love that I’m driving on sunshine! I sized my solar electric (photovoltaic) system to power an EV, and I’m currently averaging six miles per kWh. I chose the 2022 Bolt because of its 259-mile range on a full charge, its size, and the $31,000 base price. It is also about $5,000 less than the 2021 model, DC fast charge is standard, and a Level 2 charging equipment installation is included. I purchased a ChargePoint Level 2 charger for $699 and the install was coordinated by Qmerit and conducted by Insight Electric in early October. I can provide test drives and explain the different levels and standards of charging. I can help you determine how to drive on sunshine, and I’m willing to accompany you to a dealership since some sales staff are just learning about EVs.

Alicia Cox

Alicia Cox

Wyoming Electric Vehicle Ambassador

Hello all! As Executive Director, it isn’t new for you to be hearing from me about electric vehicles, but you may not have known that I personally own and drive a Chevrolet Volt. I purchased the Volt in February of 2015. At that time YTCC was working towards introducing more Level II stations throughout the region and advocating for DC Fast Charging infrastructure, however there just wasn‘t enough infrastructure or full electric vehicle options to fit my family and work travel needs. Fortunately the Chevrolet Volt provided everything we needed! I could drive around town on my 40 miles of full electric range but then also travel throughout the region for work in hybrid mode. This vehicle has 4 seats and has fit two car seats in the back. The car currently has a booster seat for our 5 year old and a car seat for our 3 year old. A plug-in hybrid was the perfect purchase for us in 2015 and continues to be so for our family. For the first year and half we owned this vehicle we lived in an old ranger cabin and charged Level I at home. We moved to a multi-unit condo complex around 5 years ago and primarily use Level I charging through an exterior 110 outlet but supplement with some publicly available Level II charging in downtown Jackson near my office. Our next vehicle will be full electric but we’re pleased to have been driving around Jackson on electric for almost 6 years with this plug-in hybrid. We bought this vehicle used and believe used plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles will play a pivotal role in advancing electric vehicle ownership and use in the coming years. Don’t hesitate to reach to learn more about my experience!

Arne Jorgensen

Arne Jorgensen

Wyoming Electric Vehicle Ambassador