Buy an EV That’s Not Sold in Your State — Here’s How

Automotive shoppers have more choices for electric vehicles than ever before. However, not all EVs are available in all 50 states. With this in mind, you might be wondering if you can buy an EV that’s not sold in your state. You can, and we provide some tips on how to do it.

Why do some automakers only sell electric vehicles in certain states?

Front angle view of red 2022 Tesla Model S, highlighting how you can buy an EV that isn't sold in your state
2022 Tesla Model S | Tesla

There are three primary reasons why automakers only sell electric vehicles in certain states. The first is that local franchise laws restrict EV automakers like Tesla, Rivian, Lucid, and Polestar from selling to customers because they don’t have dealerships. Secondly, automakers have a limited supply of some electric vehicles, so they restrict their sales to states in which they are most profitable. The third reason is that state emissions requirements influence where some automakers sell their limited supply of electric vehicles. 

Buy directly from an automaker

The first option for buying an EV not sold in your state is to buy directly from an automaker, as detailed by Cars.com. To get around the dealership franchise laws, Tesla, Rivian, Lucid, and Polestar have a “direct sales” business model. Customers can order an electric vehicle online. The automakers then deliver the car to a local “delivery center.” 

In place of traditional dealerships, some EV automakers have retail spaces, such as a “Tesla Gallery” and a “Rivian Hub.” The electric vehicles at these spaces are not for sale. These automakers don’t have big lots with many EVs available to buy. Instead, they sell vehicles that are “made-to-order.”

Contact a local dealership about buying an EV from another state

You Can Buy an EV That Isn't Sold in Your State: Here’s How
2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 | Hyundai

Some of the traditional automakers make electric vehicles but choose not to sell them in certain states. As mentioned earlier, this is mostly due to limited supply and state emissions requirements. In cases like these, you might find success buying an EV not currently sold in your state by contacting a local dealership.

For example, Cars.com contacted Hyundai about buying the 2022 Ioniq 5. As of this writing, Hyundai sells the Ionic 5 in only 26 states. The automaker plans to eventually sell the Ioniq 5 in all 50 states. However, for now, Hyundai limits sales of the Ioniq 5 to states that have zero-emissions laws. When Cars.com contacted Hyundai, a representative told them that customers can work with a local dealer about buying the Ioniq 5. For an extra fee, a local dealer can get an Ioniq 5 from a dealer in a state where the electric vehicle is currently sold.

Buy a used electric vehicle

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The third option for buying an EV not sold in your state is to buy used. While there are restrictions and limitations for where automakers sell electric vehicles, a used EV can be bought from any state. Also, relative to gas-powered cars, EVs are often a better option for buying used. With fewer moving parts, EVs typically are more reliable with less maintenance and repairs compared to gas-powered cars.

At first glance, it might seem like a challenge to buy an EV not sold in your state. However, it can be done, whether by directly buying from an EV automaker, contacting a local dealership, or buying a used electric car.

This article was updated on 7/21/2022.

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