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Get “Butts in Seats” Part 1: Electric Auto Association

You haven’t heard from us on CalCars-News in a while. Thanks to you, our 7,000 subscribers. We hope that you, along with other plug-in drivers and advocates, have been giving test-drives of the new mass-production PHEVs and EVs. That’s the best way to build support and demand — which we’ve been doing by launching DrivingElectric.org. Below you’ll find our article from the front page of Current EVents, the Electric Auto Association’s newsletter. If you like or drive plug-in cars, join EAA! (It was formed in 1967 and now has 82 chapters.) Details below on the EAA’s Annual Meeting this Saturday, which you can attend remotely. (This is the first of two messages — the second one will be about Plug In America, the other national plug-in organization.)

The Annual Meeting of the EAA is at 1PM Eastern/10AM Pacific Time, Call in to hear it and watch the presentation) at http://www.electricauto.org/

2013: The Year Test Drives Spurred EV Sales By Felix Kramer, DrivingElectric.org

Who’d have predicted, looking back from year-end 2013, the way the prospects for EVs surged in a single year?

Until 2012, most car shoppers didn’t even put EVs on the list. They heard EV and thought, “underpowered, unproven, unaffordable.” Also, “unavailable and unseen.” (Most people didn’t pay attention to the plug-in flavors — BEVs, PHEVs, EREVs — and just called them EVs.)

How did all that change? What made the difference?

In 2011 and 2012, over 70,000 North Americans who’d awaited “real EVs” for as long as they could remember finally got the cars of their dreams. Until then, only a few thousand lucky drivers had managed to hang on to the short-lived EVs that automakers had briefly produced. Others had built their own or had converted hybrids to plug-ins — trying anything to run on electrons and get the industry to evolve.

This all changed when the mass-produced Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF arrived. Then came a supercharge: upstart Tesla’s full-sized, long-range Model S was applauded as the ‘iPhone on wheels’, and it nabbed Car of the Year awards. Owners and journalists who risked saying, “EVs can be better than gasoline cars!” began to get respect.

Other automakers like Toyota, Honda, Ford, and Mitsubishi also delivered great EVs. But they still weren’t all-in. Few on their management and PR teams drove EVs daily. Their marketing efforts reflected their caution. Their ads didn’t show people in their EVs having fun, or enjoying the benefits of driving gas-free. It looked like many were getting ready to announce sadly that “demand just isn’t there.”

Meanwhile, most drivers still barely knew about EVs. People across the EV industry were scrambling to create a breakthrough in public awareness.

Finally great minds began to think alike. Drivers, advocates, and salesforces all noticed how much they looked forward to showing off their cars. They told stories about buyers stepping out after test drives with the “EV grin.”

EV owners began to realize that every sidewalk question, and every neighbor’s or co-worker’s comment, was one more opportunity to drop a keyfob in a new pocket. People they’d taken for drives, then forgotten about, returned to say, “Thanks! Because of you, I bought an EV.”
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