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Automakers partner with states to get Americans to buy more electric cars



In 2017, nearly 200,000 electric cars were sold in the US. That may seem like a lot, but that's less than 2 percent of the 17 million vehicles sold during the year. But while EV sales are definitely growing, the electrified market is still a niche. This has led to a new marketing campaign to convince the American public to give batteries a chance.

Sixteen major automakers are joining forces with seven northeastern states to support a new advertising community with the goal of getting Americans to buy more electric cars. The goal is not to make everyone Tesla owners. The organizers will put a strong focus on hybrid vehicles, both standard and plug-in hybrids, to create the widest possible network.

"We believe that people owe it to themselves to be behind the wheel of an electric car," says Steve Douglas, Senior Director of Environmental Issues at the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers. "You should talk to people who drive electric cars because we think an electric car should be on their short list."

The campaign, entitled "Drive Change, Drive Electric," was unveiled today at the New York International Auto Show. The car companies involved include BMW, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. Participating states are New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Jersey.

It will be a "fully integrated campaign to reach as many consumers as possible," says Elaine O & # 39; Grady, senior political consultant in the Northeast for coordinated air traffic management. These include advertising, social media and strategic events. The organizers would not say how much money would be spent on the campaign or how the total amount would be split between the automakers and the states. "It's certainly not disproportionate," says Douglas.

Automakers increasingly invest in the production of electric vehicles. Ford said it would spend $ 1

1 billion on the technology to build new battery electric and hybrid vehicles by 2022 by 2022. Daimler has said it will spend at least $ 11.7 billion to introduce 10 all-electric and 40 hybrid models.

The fear is that many of these new models will not appeal to US consumers driving trucks, SUVs and crossovers in an era of cheap gas. "The last thing we want to see is that EVs are sitting on dealer lots, unsold," says Douglas. "It's not enough to build a lot of great cars, people have to buy them."

Of course, automakers are guilty of rinsing the message about the sustainability of the environment. The New York Times recently reported that the Car Manufacturers Alliance has filed regulatory filings in Washington, DC that could raise "doubts about the negative impact of tailpipe pollution on human health" of aggressive policies adopted by the Obama administration. Government to contain tailpipe emissions, which make a significant contribution to air pollution and global warming.

Asked if these reports clash with the message of the campaign, Douglas said, "I think you've seen a promise from carmakers to reduce emissions of climate change, and I think the electrification of vehicles is definitely one of them. "


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