How Electric Car Advertising Has Changed Over Time – Video


For The Love Of The Planet

For The Love Of The Planet

“People used to buy electric cars to help save the planet.”

“Now they buy electric cars, because they are the best, most fun, and coolest rides around.”

Times have changed and so to have the reasons why people buy electric cars.

This is clearly evident in Nissan’s evolving advertising campaigns for the LEAF.

Remember the polar bear?  It was all about saving the planet back then.

Now, it’s the instant torque.

Initially, electric cars were viewed as for greenies.  Now, especially with help from the Tesla Model S, electric cars are viewed as both green and mean.

Enjoy this superb video titled “The EV Revolution” from Yale Climate Change Forum.

For The Instant Torque

For The Instant Torque

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42 Comments on "How Electric Car Advertising Has Changed Over Time – Video"

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I find it funny that people always need to attach an agenda to buying an EV. Like the question in the video, “Why are you doing this?” When someone buys a Toyota Camry do they get asked, “What is the political message of your Camry”, or “What’s the payback period on you Camry”.

Well, one does need an agenda, or at least a good selling point, for leaving a convenient and “safe” default in favor of an alternative and somewhat subversive option.

Why can’t it just be “I like it better than the other cars”. For some reason EVs are supposed to have some kind of “message”. Not everyone wants their car to have a message.

Everyone who owns an EV, basically becomes an Ambassador for a disruptive technology. That’s why it’s naturally assumed there was an agenda at the time of purchase. EVs are still not mainstream, so there is an on-going cultural uplifting process regarding BEVs as to their advantages / benefits. Tesla and Nissan have done great work in this area. I hope it continues.

Those who sheepishly buy oil based drivetrains, won’t have this issue, until EV’s come closer to becoming ubiquitous. Once at that tipping point– the backlash of having to justify owing and driving an oil burner, will be quite difficult; if not outright requiring operating permits or having to prove being part of maintaining a museum collection.

Why do owners have to be ambassadors? And why do owners have to get labeled, especially if the label doesn’t match their intentions?

If the “green” label wasn’t so attached to EVs, they would be a lot less of a political hot button.

If the “frugal” label wasn’t attached to EVs, there would be less silly questions regarding “payback”.

No one is saying saving the planet, or saving money is a bad thing, but you’re not going to win as many customers if that is your front 2 arguments. Many people don’t vote on the environment with their wallets, regardless of how they feel, and most are too lazy to do the life cycle cost of an EV. So you need to win them on quality/ride/performance/convenience/etc. (all the same things gassers compete on). The EV technology is the bonus/advantage they have over gassers.

“So you need to win them on quality/ride/performance/convenience/etc”

But BEVs can’t compete with gassers on those metrics overall.

For now, there has to be other reasons to buy.

It is almost as good overall on non political reasons to buy but with these positive externalities.

If you take off your green glasses you will see that is the case. And why BEVs currently have such a small market share.

It isn’t that BEVs are superior overall but have poor marketing. Superior products succeed regardless of marketing.

I would counter that no one, other than Tesla and perhaps to a lesser degree Nissan, have created a superior vehicle that fully satisfies a customer’s mobility needs using a pure BEV drivetrain.

So until quite recently, the world just didn’t know any better, until these new vehicles existed, just how well (nay, superiorly) electric drivetrain technology could replace the 100+ year old oil burner.

It takes time to spread the word. That’s why both ambassadorship and education, are key. Remember: successful technologies have also failed to be widely culturally adopted, due to purely cultural reasons.

“But BEVs can’t compete with gassers on those metrics overall.”
I actually think BEVs can exceed gassers in all of those categories I listed (why I listed them). The only hold-back is recharge time and that is a non-issue if you have a PHEV.

“Superior products succeed regardless of marketing.”
There’s a lot of examples to the contrary.
(ie Betamax)

And if you have an 85KWH or larger battery and supercharger access, I don’t think the recharge time is an issue. 95% of the time you just take 15 seconds a day to unplug in the morning and plug-in at night. You never have to go to a gas station so you save a lot of time.

Then on those rare occasions when you do drive a few hundred miles, you stop at 260 miles and use some of that saved time to enjoy a relaxing meal as your EV is charged up with a supercharger.

I often point this out to people when they ask me about my EV. I ask them what the payback period it on their big dually truck or giant SUV they are driving.

It’s pretty clear what the “message” is intended by the driver commuting alone in a 2-ton dually.

It worked for the 1968 VW Bus, don’t you think?

I’ve always thought it to be entirely appropriate to show EV’s sliding sideways across wet pavement, wheels spinning. EV’s work on many levels, so if you you don’t want one for environmental reasons, get it for torque. If you don’t care that much for torque, get it for economy.

I’ve argued against the “green” message since the very beginning. I still with Nissan would remove the “zero emissions” badge from the Leaf because nobody on the street knows what that means. Instead it should say “electric drive” or something.

And my message to the greenies who buy these cars for their environmental benefits is to keep it to themselves. If you want to save the environment with electric cars, the best way to do it is to claim you bought it for some other reason. Most people don’t want to be labelled a tree-hugger.

Um, MB just dropped the ED name for their Electrics…

If the fear of being labeled as someone who is actively trying to mitigate their personal contribution to the 6th Great Epoch of Global Extinction is what’s stopping you from doing the “Right Thing” ™– then you are indeed, a very shallow person…

Without identifying your willingness to help educate others; there is no hope for humanity, or all the other species’ survival we supposedly steward on this pale blue dot.

Electric Car Guest Drive


If people press me over it, we were looking for a hatchback that was good on gas. We found the very best one in that category!

This also shoots down any arguments about how the performance is anemic (it isn’t, especially compared to other hatchbacks), or how it’s impractical (it’s as practical as any hatchback, which is pretty damn practical).

This isn’t a sports car, or a minivan, or an SUV. It’s not pretending to be any of those. It’s a grocery-getter and kid picker upper and commuter. I can even haul my telescope out of town to get away from the city lights. It works great for all these things.

Still love the Polar Bear commercial. They should play it 24/7.

LOL Anon. Good one. I salute you for being so bold!!

The polar bear commercial was on during the Packers vs Bills game last weekend. Saw it in the bar and had to laugh. Hadn’t seen it in a while.

All the reasons are good. What’s not to like? Pick a reason and go for it. You don’t have to be Green. If you don’t like green then pick: Torque or low cost of ownership. Time is on our side. All people will “get it” sooner or later.

Cute set.

My award goes to Mr. Wheatly “covering the parking spaces with solar panels would give 3 times the required electrical power for all cars (if they were all electric)”.

Not to mention most people would appreciate having a covered carport to protect against both sun and rain.

Of course, my city bans carports in private homes. Real far thinkers here in San Jose (aka Silicon Valley).

San Jose bans carports? Can they really do that?

Well if you have a house then you have a roof that you can put solar PV on anyway.

Sure they can. Municipalities control building codes, not state or federal governments.

I hate the polar bear commercial because it stereotypes EVs as just for greenies. It is too polarizing. And that is terrible since we have a lot of lugheads that will be LESS likely to buy a light-bulb if it is marked as ‘green’. (Yes, they are idiots.)

Here is what you should market EVs on:
-100% torque at 0 RPM
-Charge at home so you never have to ‘fill-up’
-no stinky exhaust
-very low maintenance
-no vibration
-no lurching transmission
-no smog checks
-no oil changes
-Can ‘grow’ your own fuel on your roof (with solar PV panels).
-Extremely low volatility on ‘fuel’ price (electricity is regulated)
-Fewer repairs since far fewer moving parts
-Fuel (electricity) is nearly 100% domestically generated
-Reduce the trade deficit
-No oil drips from your car.
-No spilling gas on yourself when fueling.
-Don’t support Putin, Iran, Nigeria, Venezuela, and other rogue oil states.

Electric Car Guest Drive

Spec, I’m usually a big fan of your posts. But this one just speaks to your own biases.

None of these are the “10x Force” that Andy Grove identifies as a requirement for “an inflection point”.

But there is one elephant in the room reason to drive EVs.

Will you grab the trunk, tail, leg, ear or lean against the side?

But the carmakers do not have to advertise the green aspects of EVs. The Greenies already know them. And if they don’t, they’ll learn from the NRDC, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, WWF, Plug-In America, Union of Concerned Scientists, and many other such organizations. Let those people push the green aspects, not the car companies.

Yes, the cars need to compete as cars, not as political footballs. If you want mainstream adoption, that is.

I don’t think clean air and a sustainable (survivable) environment are a political issue, I think they are health issues.

Sure, politics are involved at the lobbyist and lawmaker level, because that’s how regulations are made.

But the ordinary Joe does not think of asthma, COPD heart or lung disease as political issues.

Well, you might not think of them as political issues. But your political opponents do. “Defund the EPA” is an applause line for the conservative base. That is just reality so have you deal with it.

Twisted Tail! A Thousand Eyes! Trapped forever! Eee-pah! Eee-pah!

Spec, when you say “political opponents” in this context, it’s not ideology, it’s financial interests.

The financial interest of an entity that doesn’t want to pay for the externalities of their product, vs the Heath outcomes, including longevity, of those who are paying the cost for those externalities.

Hanging in the balance is money in shareholders pockets vs the health and well-being of all citizens, but especially those who live nearest the sources or concentrations of emissions.

It politics insofar as politics is money.

No doubt money frames the debate as ideology – freedom from stifling regulation. But that is what needs to be exposed for the fraud that it is.

I appreciate and enjoy your thoughtful engagement. Thanks.

“No doubt money frames the debate as ideology – freedom from stifling regulation. But that is what needs to be exposed for the fraud that it is”
It’s stuff like this that EVs need to avoid. No one talked about political ideologies when they bought a microwave.

I may not have explained myself sufficiently, kdawg. I am specifically saying that political ideology is a red herring. The negative health consequences of asthma, COPD, heart and lung disease don’t have a political affiliation, unless it’s the anti-science party.

If anyone wants to deny the negative effects health effects of burning fossil fuels in internal combustion engines, it’s ok, I’ll suggest a simple experiment you can try.

It’s not so much the anti-science party, as it is the anti-government party. They don’t want big brother telling them what to do, even if it’s the right thing.

Spec9, your list is perfect.

Using “green” to sell cars is a recipe for failure. Why? Because the green political movement (aka BIG-GREEN) is not about the environment, and if you think it is, then you’re just one of their useful pawns.

BIG-GREEN is about politics, power, manipulation, and money. And BIG-GREEN billionaires like Al Gore are laughing all the way to the bank while enjoying their fuel-hungry mansions, yachts, limos, and Leerjets.

I recycle. I don’t litter. Wen I see litter I pick it up. I own a Volt. I advocate EVs. And when I see an obvious scam like the political green movement, I call it out.

Whether your conspiracy theory about “Big Green” is true or not, it’s besides the point. Being “green” only sells to so many people, and as I said early, even a lot of “green” people don’t vote with their wallets. The car needs to sell because it is a good “car”, no strings attached.

Its probably good that the advertising has changed.

In 2010, the Polar Bears were subject to a population explosion of 4 to 5 times the number 50 years previously.

The Irony is that Today, Polar Bears are in Big Trouble. Their FUR is falling off in splotches due to radiation poisoning.

There also hasn’t been 1 ORCA Whale found living more than 1 year old since 3/11/11. So don’t be surprized if ORCA’s go extinct since they also can’t handle the radiation in the Pacific.

So how many more species will go extinct due to a malfunction of “GREEN” Nuclear Power?

Do polar bears shed their fur every single spring? Yes.

Is there any evidence to support the radiation poisoning theory? No.

Have any polar bears died from this hair loss? No.

If these bears are sick, it’s more likely from the stress of being constantly darted and drugged by over zealous USGS researches.

Be sure you eat plenty of Japanese Sushi.

Maybe the New York Academy Of Sciences you may consider more authoritative:

You are one mean Doubting-Thomas. Every post of mine I have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, but you just say stuff without any proof of your own and because its the ‘current polemic’ you are self – satisfied.

You want proof? Here’s ANOTHER 10-20 links where I’m doing your research for you.