Major car manufacturers now sell electric vehicles. We decided to take a closer look to find out what EV buyers might encounter when visiting a local showroom.

Our secret shopping adventures revealed that there are a number of different EVs on the market with technology and accessories that suit different lifestyles. However, the perfect EV may be hard to track down.

All PHEVs are EVs, but not all EVs are PHEVs

Sorting through EV options can make you feel like you need to review syllogisms from your test-taking days.

In the early 2000s, there were only a few EVs available and they all functioned in similar ways. Now that EVs have proliferated, drivers can choose from all-electric vehicles, long range plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), short range PHEVs or regular hybrids.

Tip: Choose an EV that works for you

One of the joys of shopping for an EV is getting to sample the latest technologies and choose ones that complement your lifestyle. Learning about EVs before you purchase is worth the effort, since choosing the right charger or app could make the driving experience much more rewarding.

The best way to find out about different options is to comparison shop, considering different car brands and models. New categories of EVs give owners the opportunity to improve fuel efficiency and performance by tailoring their choices of EVs to their habits and needs.

The quest for the all-electric floor model

Once you know your facts, finding a showroom that has your chosen EV in stock and ready to test drive may be difficult.

At half the showrooms we visited, there was no electric or hybrid electric vehicle on the lot. Salespeople at two locations told us they had never sold an electric car and never intended to sell one. Since salespeople want to complete a sale while the customer is on-site, a lack of electric vehicles also resulted in many attempts to steer us toward purchasing a gas-powered car.

Tip: Call ahead and ask whether your EV is available and charged

We recommend calling ahead to find out whether the showroom has the model you are requesting in stock. Ask if the car is charged and ready for a test drive. Even this may not be a guarantee. One of the Kia showrooms that we called before visiting said that our preferred EV was on the lot, then told us that they did not have that model available to test drive when we visited the showroom in person.

No matter what the shopping experience is like, you can look forward to the moment when you drive your new car off the lot. The most important thing is finding the EV that is right for you and getting behind the wheel.