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 are an electric vehicle owner and wish to be a part of the EV Ambassador Program, please join us on Wednesday, September 15th from 12:00pm-1:00pm for an information session about the program. You can find registration information HERE.