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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Manufacturers Go Full Throttle in Marketing Electric Cars

The BMW i3 will sell for $52,000 and offer loaner- cars for long trips.

Amid ongoing consumer reluctance to cross the chasm and buy alternative-powered vehicles, automakers are getting creative with their marketing strategies to lure in buyers. One of the barriers for prospective electric-auto buyers is battery life. BMW’s strategy for its electric i3, slated to come out this year, will be to offer customers loaner cars for long trips. 
It’s fascinating to witness the collaboration between engineering and marketing departments to address the limitations of current batteries. GM added a gasoline motor (engineering) and a complex transmission to its electric Volt, allowing for longer trips while maintaining an attractive sticker price (marketing). Tesla, meanwhile, offers big, pricey battery packs (engineering) based on market research that their customers will pay for convenience (marketing). The Tesla Model S, with a 265-mile range, sells for $80,000. Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, is investing in infrastructure by installing a network of fast-charging stations (engineering) that double as outdoor advertising (marketing). 
All this effort on the part of automakers will collectively make an impact on consumer attitudes. Throw in some savvy sponsorship 2.0 deals and alluring rebates and boom! It’s a good bet that buyers will make the leap to electric vehicles.  
Now we just need that heroic political momentum from global leaders to urge everyone to play a part in restoring the planet… are you listening, Mr. President? I hope so.
For more on the trend toward renewable energy check out our 2013 Trends Report. 
For more about BMW’s campaign see BMW Shifts into Electric Gear.

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