Audi is pouring more marketing dollars into its ambitious electric vehicle plans. A new campaign from the automaker attempts to debunk perceptions about EVs that have kept them from breaking into the mainstream, including fears about range, charging infrastructure and performance. The effort, which includes a new TV ad, comes in advance of the May launch of Audi’s new “e-tron” SUV, the first of three battery electric vehicles the luxury brand will introduce over three years.
The ad, called “Not For You” by Venables Bell & Partners, begins by showing a man in his bathrobe who skeptically gazes at his neighbor’s Audi e-tron parked in a garage. Then he is transported into several scenes meant to tackle his skepticism head-on. One shot shows the vehicle zooming through a desert landscape, which is an attempt to debunk the so-called “range anxiety” fears that are considered a major barrier to purchase. Other scenes show the vehicle easily handling inclement weather. The ad also juxtaposes a crowded gas station with a more visually pleasing EV charging station.
Audi declined to reveal the size of the media investment behind the campaign, other than to say the TV ad will run in April and May. The campaign follows a Super Bowl spot in which Audi touted its claim that one-third of its new models will be electrified by 2025.
“As part of our commitment to electrification, we’ve recognized the need for more consumer education on what it really means to ‘go electric’,” Loren Angelo, VP of marketing for Audi of America, said in a statement. “Our goal with 'Not For You’—and ads like this year’s Super Bowl spot 'Cashew'—is to ensure consumers have a better understanding of electric vehicles and debunk some long-standing myths about EV ownership.”
EVs account for only about 2 percent of total US. auto sales. Tesla remains the dominant player, controlling about 80 percent of the 239,492 battery electric vehicles sold in the U.S. last year, not including gas-electric hybrids, according to Kelley Blue Book. But as new technology improves range and performance, established automakers are pouring billions of dollars into EV development to guard against being left behind if the segment finally enters the mainstream.
Audi’s e-tron SUV, which has a starting price tag of a $74,800, has an EPA-estimated range of 204 miles, according to the brand. The vehicle’s electric motors are capable of pushing the car from zero to 60 miles-per-hour in 5.5 seconds, according to Audi.
The new campaign includes an educational video called “Range Tranquility,” that attempts to quell fears. It states that 98 percent of single-trip car rides in the U.S. are under 50 miles, adding that the e-tron’s battery can “take you multiple times farther with confidence.” The video also plug’s the vehicle’s in-dash range map display that shows exactly how far the driver can go on a current charge.