Sun, Aug 18, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Electric vehicles still waiting for Hollywood

By Kyle Lahucik  /  Bloomberg

The automakers that do have big advertising budgets have few EVs to feature on film. That will change, but it is still expected to take years — Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that electric vehicles will take over a majority of the global market in about 2037.

When battery-powered cars do get on screen, they are often lampooned as slow or nerdy. Cinema Vehicles, one of the largest suppliers of rental vehicles in Hollywood, television and commercials, said it has just one electric vehicle at its Los Angeles lot: a 2011 Nissan Leaf.

The car served as the Uber that actor Kumail Nanjiani’s character, Stu, drives in the film Stuber about a cop on the hunt for a brutal killer.

The Leaf takes a beating. At one point in the film, two of Stu’s riders giggle at his choice of transportation.

“Stop laughing; this is a Leaf,” Stu tells them.

They erupt in even louder laughter.

In the series Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David’s ride was a Toyota Prius hybrid. David, who played everyone’s bete noire in the satirical series about his own life, was often seen slowly puttering down the street as comical music played in the background.

“An awful lot of the culture of electric vehicles within popular culture has probably tended to be more pejorative than it has been celebratory,” Thompson said. “It’s not right, but there are an awful lot of people out there who make the assumption that people who drive electric cars are also people who eat kale.”

One group trying to turn the mockery on its head is public-private advocacy group Veloz, which recently debuted a campaign called Kicking Gas, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger pokes fun at the internal-combustion engine.

“On behalf of big oil, I want to thank you all for choosing muscle cars that use gasoline,” Schwarzenegger, who plays a car salesman, says over a dealership intercom.

Automakers will not want to strike a similar tone in advertising their EVs, as the companies would effectively be shaming what is in showrooms.

“The golden rule is that you don’t talk bad about your product,” Wakefield said. “Effectively, it is talking bad about the 99 percent of your portfolio that is selling and, of that portfolio, a third of it is highly profitable.”

“You don’t want to kill the golden goose,” he said.

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