One Key to Selling More EVs: Engaging the Sales Staff


By Vaasha Lutchman

February 2, 2024

As the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) revs up, the nation’s more than 16,000 new car dealerships are key to driving the market’s success.  

Consumer interest in EVs is increasing with sales topping 1 million a year for the first time in 2023. Yet studies find many consumers have lots of questions about EV ownership and are not aware of the benefits of driving electric.  

Do dealerships and their staff have what they need to close an EV sale?  

A 2023 Cox Automotive survey found less than half of dealers felt well-prepared to sell electric vehicles. 

“Our findings emphasize the urgency of equipping dealers with EV sales and servicing capabilities to meet the needs and demands of EV buyers,” said Kayla Reynolds, Manager of Research & Market Intelligence, Cox Automotive Mobility. 

Enter ElectrifIQ, a national EV sales training certification aimed at positioning auto sales staff as knowledgeable advisors who can influence EV market success.  

Sales staff need answers  

The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) joined with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) to create the online ElectrifIQ EV training program to provide impartial, concise information designed to help sales staff address common customer questions such as:  

  • Will an EV meet my driving needs?  

  • How long does it take to charge?  

  • How much does home charging cost?  

  • What is the total cost of EV ownership?  

CSE built the course based on years of interactions with auto associations and dealerships in states with EV incentive programs, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Oregon. CSE developed webinars, marketing materials and guidebooks, and conducted one-on-one sales training to close knowledge gaps and give staff the confidence to handle questions beyond the scope of vehicle specifications and options that automakers provide.  

Our research surveying EV buyers in EV sales-leading California found that consumers have high expectations of dealership sales staff. Of those surveyed, 92% said dealer knowledge of EV incentives was valuable in their car purchase experience. When asked why they visited more than one dealership, nearly a quarter of EV buyers surveyed said it was to find more knowledgeable sales staff. 

ElectrifIQ, designed to complement manufacturer-specific training, empowers dealership staff to educate car shoppers about the advantages of driving electric.  

It takes commitment  

America’s EV market needs to grow vastly and rapidly to reduce the emissions that are worsening climate change. That will require auto dealers to be thoroughly engaged and equipped to educate their customers and support their EV journey.  

We are honored to partner with auto dealers and associations that share our commitment to an all-electric future and to serve as a trusted EV resource to the millions of car buyers they serve.  

To learn more about CSE’s dealer services, contact Director of Dealerships & Fleets Vaasha Lutchman

Vaasha Lutchman

Director, Dealer and OEM Engagement and Outreach

Vaasha Lutchman has worked for over a decade in electric vehicle and clean energy technologies specializing in process improvement design and program implementation. At CSE, she manages the development of resources for dealerships to sell electric vehicles (EVs) nationwide. Prior to CSE, Vaasha…

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