Busting the Myth That Automakers Don’t Promote Electric Vehicles

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Here are some examples of EV promotions that bust the popular anti-EV conspiracy myth.

Low sales of electric vehicles have many causes. Low availability is certainly one possible cause. Fuel prices that make operating a gas-powered gree car about the same as an EV are certainly not helping. A lack of affordable EVs and a radius of operation before recharging of 50 miles was another factor that almost certainly slowed sales. Look at any pro-EV forum or group on Facebook and members are complaining right now about a lack of public chargers, or in the case of some Tesla owners, a lack of available spots at the limited Supercharger locations. However, the “No promotion of EVs” conspiracy theory that many EV advocates always include in any discussion of slow EV sales seems to be fading fast as EVs mature. Now that there are actually some viable, affordable EVs to sell, automakers and their powerful dealership networks are indeed advertising EVs with gusto.

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One reason that many EV advocates claim automakers are not advertising EVs is a past lack of TV spots. However, TV is generally a broad-based advertising method best suited to a product available everywhere. Frankly, EVs, whether from Tesla, Toyota, GM or Nissan, have not been available everywhere. Limited production and a crazy-quilt of available consumer subsidies from states and municipalities mean that the limited inventory is sent where it will have the best reception and result in a possible sale.

New England is one location outside of California where EVs do find buyers and dealers are stepping up, as our video above proves. This one Chevrolet dealer in our smallest U.S. state has 80 Chevy Bolts in stock and wants you to know about it. So much so that they are creating professional spots and running paid advertisements on Youtube, Facebook, and other media where products are effectively promoted in the modern age. Masse Chevrolet is even running the advertisement on both broadcast and cable TV channels.

Dealers are also teaming up with state-sponsored EV advocacy groups to offer discounts, ride and drives, and other types of promotions. EV shoppers know these sites well and automakers know it makes sense to fish where the fish are. Chevy Bolts are now being sold with huge $6,000 discounts in Massachusetts by dealers who are advertising them on the website that the state has setup to help move EVs. Bolt LTs now have an after-incentive new-vehicle price of just $21,495. Dealers are vying for attention on this site with a variety of discount and lease deals on EVs.

Tesla, for its part, has made it a point not to advertise. Mainly because there was no point. Tesla’s modest sales are pretty obviously the result of limited production capabilities. Tesla took two years just to fill its Model X reservations. Of late, Tesla had been hard at work adding manufacturing capacity and with Tesla’s new Model 3 targeting sales of hundreds of thousands per year instead of about 20,000. Tesla’s Elon Musk has said he is not against advertising if it is not boorish.


Toyota has been outselling the current two Tesla models with its Prius Prime hybrid electric vehicle in half of the months of this calendar year. Toyota has advertisements running on social media and is now running TV spots nationally and targeted to the New York City area.

Extending the point to green cars in general, automakers seem to be putting in a strong effort with hybrid advertisements as well. Toyota spent big on advertising its new Prius in 2016 with the most expensive advertisement possible, a Super Bowl TV spot.

Automakers have been advertising cars since July 28th, 1898. Now that electric vehicles are becoming available nationwide and the competition is heating up, expect to see more advertisements promoting EVs to the masses.