Elon Musk says other manufacturers don’t do enough to market their electric cars. He’s right, of course. All of them tout glowing predictions about how many electric and plug-in cars will soon be included in their lineup of available models, but few show any sign of altering the way they market their cars.
It is pretty much agreed by everyone here that electric cars are different. With conventional cars, whether you buy a Hyundai Accent or a Mercedes S Class, the drill is pretty much the same — turn the key and go. Fill it up when needed. Lather, rinse, repeat.
With an electric car, a lot of things are different and it’s more than just being able to accelerate away from traffic lights faster, thanks to abundant low-end torque. There’s the whole thing about charging at home so your car has a full battery charge in the morning. It’s also about lower maintenance bills that come with having a few moving parts instead of thousands. It’s knowing where public chargers can be found in your area or while on trips. Knowing when to charge at home and how to pay for charging at a public charger. There is a whole different mindset involved.
With the help of a $1,000,000 grant from the US Department of Energy, Drive Oregon will create an electric car storefront located across the street from Portland’s Electric Avenue — a downtown area that offers many charging stations for local EV drivers. The facility will offer information about, and test drives of, a variety of electric cars. Drive Oregon says it will also host a number of public events and pop-up EV stores in other parts of Oregon and nearby Washington communities.
The group will work together with electric utilities and a variety of other local and regional partners. It will also conduct outreach programs with local and regional employers as well as fleet owners and managers to spread the word about the advantages of electric cars. “This project will allow us to use the region as a ‘living laboratory’ to test how we move from early adopters to an early majority of drivers,” said Drive Oregon’s executive director, Jeff Allen. “We’re excited to work with our dozens of project partners to create national models for success.”
As much as this is good news for electric car fans in general, it does seem to reinforce the notion prevalent in the industry that explaining electric cars to the public is work others are expected to do. Once the cars leave the factory, the job of the manufacturer is over. Which means that Elon Musk is correct. The industry is perfectly willing to meet the requirements imposed by regulators, but someone else is supposed to sell the damn things. Which is one of the primary reasons why the number of electric cars on the road in America is lower than expected and far lower than it should be.
Source: Green Car Reports | Graphic credit: Drive Oregon