An Informative Rant
The Illinois Secretary of State (SOS) web site does not provide any links to information about registering an Electric Vehicle. I even called to ask the question to a live person. They didn’t know about Electric Vehicle plates either. (see bottom of blog for a number I was later given to call) So maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh on the finance guy at the dealership. The SOS employee did know about “Low-Speed Electric Vehicles” and the fact that they had separate plates and reduced fees. But those are vehicles that have a top speed between 20-25 MPH and are restricted to driving on streets with either a 30 or 35 MPH maximum speed limit but are allowed to cross streets that have up to a 45 MPH speed limit.
On Friday, I left a voicemail for the Business Manager at the dealership. I tried to explain the situation and asked if they would pay to have the plates reclassified. I’m really hoping for a response within a week. Was the fact that this happened, my fault for not knowing all the information at the time of purchase? Is the blame theirs for not filling the paperwork out correctly?
My Goal: A better informed public.
Regardless, hopefully this is read by a future electric vehicle purchaser in Illinois before they get to the dealership. Hopefully this is also read by electric vehicle dealers serving Illinois customers in the hopes they correct their methods. Of course, if the owner desires passenger plates (and the $99 annual fee that comes with them) over EL plates, they are allowed to use those. Maybe someone doesn’t want the added attention that the plates may add. Maybe they will opt for vanity plates, personalized plates, or a different style of specialty plates. My preference is to save money year after year. The car is going to attract attention with or without the plates anyway.
And just so I don’t become another source of information that states that Illinois offers lower rates for electric vehicle plates, but fails to communicate HOW to obtain the lower rate; refer to the pdf image above. The critical step comes in filling out the APPLICATION FOR VEHICLE TRANSACTION. Instead of Passenger plates, Electric Vehicle (EL) plates need to be requested instead. Also make sure the dealership is not automatically collecting $99 for plates. Many of their computer programs are not set up to handle other fees or the operator is just accepting the default amount. This is typically well into the purchasing process, after being worn down by the negotiations for the new car price and the trade in price. So it’s easy to be in the “whatever it takes to get me out of here” phase of the deal. It may be worth asking up front if the dealership knows about the plates and their lower costs. It will give them ample time to research before the signing marathon begins. (Ask for/Look at the finance contract for the correct numbers before getting too far into the process.)
Special thanks to Latonya at the Rockford SOS Drivers License Facility for finding out the corrective action to fix the plates.
Special thanks to Agnes Mrozowski for providing the SOS Special Plates division phone number. It is 214-782-7758. (By the way, that wasn’t the number I had called earlier when I talked to an SOS employee about the plates. This number was provided later.)