Where can I test drive an electric car? (Hint: Try renting one for the holidays!) 

Five fantastic ways you can get behind the wheel and test drive an electric car.

Are you wondering: “Where can I test drive an electric car and really get a feel for what it’s like to own an EV?”

You’re not alone. There are plenty of EV-interested car buyers just like you. That’s why we came up with a few creative suggestions for ways that you can go for great EV test drives.

1: Schedule an EV test drive with a dealer

Test drive an electric car with a salesperson in the passenger seat – it’s a great way to get a rundown of a car’s features, capabilities and technology. Whether you need a quick first impression or a final thumbs-up decision, a dealer test drive is a good way to go. 

You’ll want to test drive several different EV makes and models, so start by comparing vehicles online. You can use our Compare Vehicles or Find an EV tools to get started. 

Once you’ve created your list of possible EV contenders, consider calling a few different dealerships and asking for their go-to EV salespeople. If they can’t point you in the right direction, then call another dealership. Visiting a showroom with at least one salesperson who knows EVs will make for a much more productive test-driving experience.

Then, schedule your EV test drive. If you’re interested in more than one model, ask them to have both vehicles charged up.

If you’re new to the EV world and you want a clearer sense of what it’s like to drive one, a dealer-approved country-mile spin may not be enough. Let the salesperson know in advance that you’d like to take the car for an extended test drive. That way, you’ll get a feel for acceleration, performance, city driving, parking and highway handling.

If you’re clearly serious about buying the car, some dealers may even let you keep it overnight.

2: Rent an EV for a test drive.

Most major car rental companies – like Alamo, Budget and Hertz – offer EV rentals. Rent a car for a full day or an entire week and truly get a feel for what it’s like to own an EV. If you decide to rent for an extended period, you’ll want to have a plan for charging.

Most EV charging happens at home, so if you decide to buy an EV, most owners recommend having a Level 2 home charger installed. However, for an extended EV test drive, you have a couple of options that don’t involve installing a charger.

Level 1 home charging uses a regular outlet (like the one you plug your outdoor holiday lights or cordless drill chargers into) and will work well for a short-term test-drive. Level 1 “trickle charging” is the slowest way to charge an EV, but you’ll add about five miles per hour of charging. So if you plug in after work and unplug in the morning, you’ll have added about 65 miles of range. Just make sure the electric car you’re test driving comes with a Level 1 charging cord! This will give you a feel for how easy EVs are to charge; but don’t forget, a Level 2 charger will be about four times faster than a Level 1 charge.

On-the-go charging is probably the way to go. You’ll want to look for chargers near your home; shopping centers or local recreation areas are good options. You can visit our website to learn more about charging an EV or use our find a charger tool to get started.

You can also use public charging networks like ChargePoint, Chargeway, EVgo and PlugShare. Find the apps here:

Did you know that many automotive manufacturers have rental car programs, too? Audi, Nissan and Toyota, for example, all offer “try it before you buy it”-style rental programs. 

(Please note: This is not an exhaustive list of charging networks or car rental agencies and TVA does not endorse any particular charging company or car rental agency.)

3: Go for a ride-and-drive.

Visit the TVA EnergyRight website for an up-to-date listing of EV ride-and-drives and local events near you. Throughout the year, Plug In America organizes EV test drives and EV events all over the country. If you’re looking for a fun, free, communal block party-type test drive, an EV ride-and-drive is a great way to go.

4: Borrow an EV

Although there aren’t many carsharing services in our seven-state service region, potential EV owners can use services like Turo or Getaround to test drive an EV. If you’re thinking about purchasing a used EV, this could be a good way to see what a 2018 Tesla Model S or a 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E, for example, feels like. 

Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to chat with the owner about their experience with the vehicle.

Use the filter options to select “Electric” or “Hybrid.” As with any “share” program – whether homeshare or carshare – there are risks involved with this approach and rental costs and car quality may vary.

5: Find a friend

In these days of social interconnectedness, you may be surprised to find out how many of your friends and acquaintances drive electric vehicles. It can’t hurt to ask around! 

Most early EV adopters are more than happy to share their enthusiasm and passion for electric cars with anyone who’ll listen. If they’re really good friends, they may even be willing to hand over the keys for a few days.

We hope we’ve rounded up a few good answers to your “Where can I test drive an electric car?” question. Maybe we’ll even see you at a ride-and-drive event soon.

About our EV blogs: We know that big changes – like purchasing a vehicle that runs on electricity instead of gasoline – can lead to big questions. And that’s why we’re doing our best to provide expert, unbiased answers to your pressing EV questions. Each of our posts will include links to trusted external sources like automotive magazines, thought leaders, research-backed studies, government agencies and more. Feel free to click around!

DISCLAIMER: No TVA endorsement of any specific vehicle, car manufacturer, electric charger or other equipment is intended or implied. This site’s content (including, without limitation, references and links to third-party information) is based on information provided at the time of publishing, and TVA makes no warranty therein.


The TVA EnergyRight EV Team


About the author: The TVA EnergyRight EV Team works diligently to make sure the people of the Tennessee Valley region have fact-based information about electric vehicles so they can decide how EVs fit into their lives. TVA is collaborating with state agencies, local power companies and other partners to pave the way for EV adoption in the region. This includes developing the Fast Charge Network, which will place public fast chargers at least every 50 miles along the interstates and major highways across TVA’s seven-state service area by 2026.