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Published on May 4th, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan


GM’s Chevy Bolt Ad Excites (CleanTechnica Mistake Offers Interesting Case Study)

May 4th, 2017 by  

Last month, we published an article about a Chevy Bolt “fan commercial.” The commercial was superb and we praised it while somewhat despondently wondering why GM doesn’t create such great commercials. There was just one problem with that — it turns out the commercial was created by GM’s team in South Korea.

With that in mind, interesting things to reflect on include our comments on GM (with that initial assumption that the ad wasn’t a GM video) as well as how readers responded. Needless to say, there was a bit of “GM bashing.”

To repeat and expound a little bit on what we wrote before about the commercial, I think the ad is really well done — it portrays the Bolt as fun, exciting, high tech, family friendly, safe, quiet, clean, and hip. The commercial is all about selling the Bolt as a genuinely compelling, attractive car — not just as a green solution for the small percentage of the population that is going to choose a car with that factor as their prime consideration*. In fact, the commercial hardly implies at all that the Bolt is a solution to global warming and air pollution. And it doesn’t need to — people who care so much about protecting humanity from impending annihilation or from the horrible results of air pollution typically know that EVs are greener and have probably already searched this model out.

The Bolt is one of the best cars on the market, which is why it not only won the 2017 CleanTechnica Car of the Year award but also the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year award, the 2017 North American Car of the Year award, and a heap of praise from the mainstream automotive world. In our just released 93-page EV report, the Bolt came in second only to the Tesla Model 3 when respondents were asked which EV they’d likely buy next. In fact, 14–19% of North American non-Tesla drivers expected the Bolt would be their next EV (compared to 30–38% for the Model 3 in those categories).

Those responses came from over 2,000 EV drivers in 26 European countries, 49 of 50 US states, and 13 Canadian provinces. In other words, the car has been highly praised and desired … so it’s nice to see that GM’s marketing in South Korea has matched that desirability quite well. And I think we could give GM a little more credit for trying to lead on EVs, and for also learning how to better promote them. That said, I’m curious to see where GM takes its US marketing focus once Bolt production isn’t limited (by what I assume are supply constraints). We’ll be watching with an open mind but a tinge of positive expectation, particularly after the South Korea commercial.

*From the 2,324 responses we got from EV drivers, it turns out 33–45% (depending on category) chose “environmental benefit” as their main reason for going electric (chart below). That was pretty fascinating to me, since not that many people make big purchases with the environment as their main priority in choosing between products. But that is the niche segment of the population that has been buying electric cars so far. Get the full report, or at least read the first 60 pages (for free), to learn more.


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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