Video: Is This How to Sell Electric Vehicles to the General Public?

By · March 16, 2012

When GM recently announced a five-week production hiatus for the Chevy Volt, plug-in advocates pointed to bad marketing as one of the reason that Volt sales have been soft. The criticism of not knowing how to sell EVs, or purposely short-circuiting interest with off-message advertising, dates back to the EV1. High-priced ad agencies hired by GM and other electric car makers will likely respond to these accusations, with this: "Well, if you can do better, go ahead." That's exactly what Plug In America has done.

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How do you properly pitch electric vehicles to the general buying public? Plug In America paints a picture of how inconvenient and environmentally unfriendly it is to own a gasoline-burning vehicle. The refrain "If You Can't Plug Your Car In" is followed by a list of reasons that plug-in capability is far superior to trips to the gas pumps—and how much better it is to use cheap domestic electricity as an automotive fuel.

Plug In America released the public service campaign this week, promoting it as the right way to sell electric vehicles to the general public. Gas cars are portrayed as loud, smelly, inconvenient and not as fun to drive. Implementing such a campaign would, of course, cast a negative light on the vast majority of vehicles offered by major carmakers. Could that be a reason for GM and others not to rip a page from Plug In America's marketing playbook?

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.