2016 Chevy Volt Ad Looks… Very Normal

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

Chevrolet recently released a new ad spot for the new Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and I’ve got to say, it’s pretty good….

The ad doesn’t really have that sort of strange and tacky feel that many electric vehicle (EV) ads over the last few years have seemed to have. It looks as though GM is really looking to appeal to the middle-of-the-road, everything should be “normal,” consumers that make up the majority of the auto market.

That said, the ad fails to explain — or even hint at — what makes the Volt special. In fact, it’s hard to think of a more boring advertisement for such a hugely acclaimed and loved car. I’ll let you watch the ad before going on:


Of course, the 2016 Chevy Volt PHEV has a lot more going for it than just a few pretty clips — excellent fuel economy, the torque of a battery-electric motor, good all-electric range, extended range on gas for those times when you need to drive long distances, etc. It seems that GM didn’t consider capturing any of this in its new ad.

Gas2 provides some more thought on the “normal” approach GM took here:

The 2016 Volt is a clean, fresh design that is visually appealing but it looks like a normal car, not something from the future. It has what looks like a normal gearshift lever in the normal place. The touchscreen display and the instrument cluster look familiar and are in the normal location. Clearly the message is, normal people will be comfortable with this car.

And that’s not all. The video shows the Volt taking curves! This is a car that is fun to drive, not some boring econobox that sips fuel on the way to work. You can take it out into the great beyond, where the allure of the open road still exists. It’s not about hyper-miling. It’s about being free to enjoy driving again without worrying about the planet or gas prices or whether you have enough juice to get home.

I’m genuinely curious about how much of a difference this sort of advertising can make. What do you think — any at all? I don’t like to think that advertising is all that it takes, but sometimes it is, isn’t it? Why else would Apple have made an $80 billion dollar profit last quarter doing nothing but selling a slightly larger version of the same product that its been selling for years? But the real question is, how many new buyers will such a conventional ad pull to an unconventional product?

I think BMW has done a much better job on this front.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

12 thoughts on “2016 Chevy Volt Ad Looks… Very Normal

  • This ad is great. It’s a normal car ad for a normal car. The only thing I saw was it is a front wheel drive with the fuel tanks mounted center body. Short of that, it looks cool, fun and new. Much more appealing that a flashy ad showing “scary” new technology.
    In short, if you want an ev to be accepted as “normal” you have to sell it as normal. Well done Chevy!

    • Those are the batteries that are center-mounted.

  • Now, they need to educate sales people. Might be hard to get dealerships on board, since they require almost no maintenance. The service departments are going to wither as electrics start taking over.

  • Nice. Looks gorgeous.

  • It’s unfortunate that you have to trick people into buying the world’s greatest car by claiming it’s “normal”
    Oh well, whatever it takes.

    • I wonder how many of us there are at the “table”

    • I drive a Volt too. What are the Mensa level advantages? Please keep it simple, so I can understand it without having that advantage.

    • Sorry, but I think you meant to say, “Mensa-level intelligence has its advantages.” The apostrophe was superfluous and the hyphen was missing. Back to Mensa!

  • i am looking forward to driving this car, wanted to buy american for a long time, if not this a Cadillac

  • Very subtle message about hints of EV experience and yet it is great. The best one I’ve seen so far.

  • Explaining the car is solely an electric vehicle that also happens to lug around a gas-powered charging station is a hard concept to reduce to a 30-second spot. The Volt really isn’t a hybrid, but a combo pack. I recently bought a lightly used 2012 model and am in love.

  • Looks to me like an add that says , proud parents of a new baby, and the car dealers will not put this back near the alley some place this is going to be up front

Comments are closed.