As The EV Landscape Changes, So Do The Ads

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Chevrolet’s “EVs for Everyone” ad starts with a woman’s voice saying, “It’s beautiful,” as she walks over to a Chevy Bolt EUV in the middle of a pastoral field as she gets ready for her hiking adventure, and then it promptly cuts away to a couple of men loading up a Chevy Silverado EV with what seems like items they will sell at a local farmers’ market. The rest of the ad goes on to show people of different ages and ethnicities thoroughly enjoying a wide variety of fully electric Chevy vehicles as they go singing, laughing, and swaying to the tune of Fleetwood Mac’s hit “Everywhere” playing on all the car radios throughout the one-minute spot.

It is not a brand new ad, but what is generally new is that car companies are now advertising EVs as something desirable, fun, and for everyone. We’ve come a long way since the early days of the “anti-sell” ads of the EV1. Back in those days, car companies largely focused on EVs as compliance vehicles that they either sold in limited quantities or, in the case of the EV1 and a few others, that they leased out and then unceremoniously crushed.

The EV1 ad may have been the worst of the bunch back then. It had a woman’s craggy voice reciting a poem to creepy music while black and white silhouettes of people lay on the pavement — easily seen as the morbid results of a nuclear explosion. In short, they didn’t want to sell electric cars.

Nissan had an eco-inspired ad early on where a sad-looking polar bear, surrounded by melting icecaps, takes a long and arduous journey to thank the businessman who recently purchased an ocean blue Nissan LEAF. While worlds better than the EV1 commercial, it was targeted towards a very specific eco-conscious audience and had limited appeal.

Love him or hate him, Elon Musk’s success with Tesla strong-armed the rest of the automobile industry into having to produce and sell electric vehicles to remain competitive. And once they realized this fact (some car companies still are holding out to a significant degree), we started seeing EV ads not only dominating the Super Bowl, but also in heavy rotation throughout the year.

There is the “Silence is Powerful” 2023 Kia EV6 GT ad that drives home the point that even though electric vehicles are quiet, they are extremely able. It features professional race car driver Kris Martin showcasing the vehicle’s 576-HP electric motors. Through electric motor whine and sounds of the pavement, he uses American Sign Language to say, “I don’t need noise to tell me something’s fast.” Being born deaf, he is the perfect spokesperson for this powerful electric vehicle that is supremely silent.

As we turn a corner on EV acceptance, the advertising messages — just like the cars — are increasing in numbers, getting better, and becoming more appropriate to showcase this new superior way of traveling. EVs for everyone, indeed!

“EVs for Everyone” Chevrolet commercial

GM EV1 TV commercial

Nissan LEAF commercial

Kia “Silence is Powerful” commercial


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Stuart Unger

Stuart Ungar has been interested in how technology can help us live lighter on the Earth for most of his life and remembers going on solar house tours as a kid in the ‘70s with his dad (and having to travel many miles to see each site). Stuart is the co-founder of Evolve KY, Kentucky’s non-profit electric vehicle group and has a brand new podcast — Stu’s EV Universe, which can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other major platforms. Stuart lives with his wife and college-age kids in Louisville, Kentucky.

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