21c Test PilotProduced by
Marvin V. Rush
Frank Pereira Brand Manager for EV1 was our guest at the January club meeting. His visit marked his 100 day on the job. Said Frank, Several times a day Im interrupted by people asking me if Ive got the EV1 marketing thing fixed yet? The short answer is not yet but were working on it. Frank gave a quick overview of the marketing theories that apply to innovative new technologies.
Discontinuous Innovation was the Buzz Word of the day. Frank explained that this vehicle causes customers to fundamentally change the way they use their vehicles. Because of this, the most likely to choose EV1 are early adopters and innovators. These are the kind of people who were first to buy Cellular Phones and Personal Computers. Franks advertising strategy is designed to appeal to this group.
Frank then introduced Kirk Aubrey from TRIO Communications. Trio will be heading up the marketing for EV1. Kirk spoke about an integrated marketing plan that will feature Direct Mail, Print, Special Events and Radio Promotion.
One thing is certain, EV1 Drivers are difficult to categorize, said Kirk. He said there are however four things that can be said about our group. We tend to be:
There will also be enhanced benefits to EV1 drivers and a special relationship between GM and EV1 Drivers. They include:
Both Frank Pereira and Kirk Aubrey promised that if the new program isnt working they will change it until it does.
DETROIT (North American International Auto Show)
"Our family of clean-car options is growing fast," said John F. Smith, Jr., General Motors chairman, chief executive officer and president.
"This year, we're phasing in nickel-metal-hydride batteries to our pioneering electric vehicles, the EV1 and S-10 Electric truck, and we plan to have a production-ready hybrid electric vehicle by 2001 and fuel cell electric vehicle by 2004, or sooner."
General Motors' advanced-technology vehicles include:
"These cars are clean, safe and fun to drive," Smith said.
In light of the recent Kyoto global climate agreement, Smith noted that General Motors' strategy of pursuing a family of options provides the most promise of increasing fuel economy and lowering emissions.
Highlights of GM's family of advanced-technology vehicles:
India Sees Vehicle Traffic Triple in Past 10 Years
New Delhi, India - The total number of vehicles on India's roads has nearly tripled in the past 10 years - a problem that's worsening the country's air-pollution problems, reports Xinhua. In 1986, the country had 11 million registered vehicles. In 1995, the figure jumped to 30 million vehicles. Of the 30 million vehicles, some 35 percent are found in 23 cities. Last year, a United Press International article reported 2.2 million people die each year from their exposure to India's air pollution (NewsNotes 3/22/97). A health study in New Delhi blames the city's air pollution for 7,500 deaths in1996 and for causing birth defects and premature deliveries (News Notes 3/11/97).
West Hollywood to Buy More EVs, Install Chargers
The West Hollywood City Council has approved a proposal to purchase several electric vehicles (EVs) and electric bicycles and install a network of charging stations, reports United Press International. Ironically, the $175,0 00 funding for the clean-air vehicles comes from the Petroleum Violator Escrow Account, a fund set up with penalties paid by oil companies that overcharged consumers in the 1970s. Along with the EV-charging infrastructure, the funding will also pay for other costs of encouraging EV usage. Last year, the City Council passed a resolution naming the city as an "Electric Vehicle Model City" and said it intended to replace its fleet with EVs.
Clinton Ups Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Budget by $50M
President Bill Clinton has requested a $50 million increase in the $227 million federal budget for a program to develop mid-size vehicles with 80- miles per gallon fuel efficiency. Among the proposed increases for the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) program are hikes of $21 million for fuel-cell research; $10 million for research on direct-injection engines and advanced fuels; and $6 million for advanced battery research. Other areas of emphasis will include hybrid-electric vehicle drive systems, lightweight materials and improved automotive manufacturing. PNGV program participants include scientists and engineers from 19 federal government laboratories, their counterparts at General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, and more than 300 automotive suppliers and universities.
SUV Trend Still Rising
PRNewswire/ -- A growing number of Americans intend to purchase a sport utility vehicle, even as the controversy over global warming and vehicle fuel- efficiency standards continues to rage. This is according to a national consumer study released today by The Dohring Company, Inc.
The study, released at the annual convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association, showed that consumer demand for passenger cars has fallen seven percent over the past three years, while intent to purchase a sport utility vehicle (SUV) has almost doubled.
"These results could bode very well for automaker profits," commented Rik Kinney, senior vice president of The Dohring Company. According to the study, spacious interior, all-wheel drive, overall vehicle size, vehicle sturdiness/safety, styling/looks and reliability are the major factors that attract consumers to sport utility vehicles.
The study also found that, while government regulators may hope for a more environmentally conscious car-buying public, consumer attitudes would need to change.
"It is interesting to note that consumers did not mention vehicle emissions/environmental concerns as a reason not to purchase an SUV," said Kinney. "While America's love affair with higher emission vehicles is not about to end, the study also found that there is a strong potential market for electric vehicles. Twenty-three percent of consumers did say they would be willing to consider the purchase of an electric vehicle."
Ergenics Wins Battery Development Contract
Ringwood, New Jersey - Ergenics, Inc. reports it has received a new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract to develop a high-power version of its "Hy-Stor" battery system. The contract enables Ergenics to target a specific power output of 1,000 watts per kilogram for its battery.
The company says its power-storage technology is particularly well-suited for use in hybrid-electric vehicle applications because of its ability to provide high discharge rates during acceleration. It also says its battery system is capable of 100,000 cycles to 80 percent discharge; has zero self-discharge; has reduced thermal-management problems and a high tolerance to states of over- and undercharge. Ergenics says its battery has been ready for production since November (News Notes 11/21/97).
Mark Sterner, chairman of the Events Committee put out the call for club members to staff the booth at the LA Auto Show. In response fourteen members attended and provided needed support.
The display is managed by Carlson Marketing for Saturn and in the past the EV1 was not the focus of the booth. This year EV1 was given its own area and most days both EV1 Club members as well as EV Specialists were on hand to answer questions and hand out brochures.
The supply of brochures was in short supply and by the third day of the ten day event they were gone. Emergency supplies were rushed in and they too were gone in just a few days. Communications Chairperson Marvin Rush made up 5,000 copies of a club designed EV1 brochure and these too were given out. Obviously interest was high for the EV1.
Not all Club Members were impressed with the show. Said Brett Dewey, I
went down to the Auto Show today. I spent 5 hours hanging around the car and
talking to whoever was interested. And tons of people were.
Brett continued. I had a great time telling people all about the car and how much I loved it. Most were impressed that I didn't work for Saturn, but had volunteered to hang out and talk about it. I talked for 5 hours straight. And it was a good thing I did.
The Saturn display was in the far back corner of the room. The EV1 was
in the back of the display. No fanfare, no push. The whole Saturn display
was manned by only two people. It was all they could do to answer a few
questions and keep the fliers stocked.
Brett also noticed something else. There were problems with the EV1 they
had on display - drained batteries, the trunk release didn't work and the
passenger door jammed often trapping people in the car! If there
wasn't an EV1 Leasee present there would have only been fliers to hand out and
no one to talk about the car. And talking about the car is what really got
Other club members were more charitable. Lisa Mirisola went to the Auto Show with her husband Dan and 7 year old son Ian on Monday afternoon, January 5.
Said Lisa, "The EV1 was like a magnet drawing people through the Saturn display. Most people were still asking the most basic questions, "How far does it go?" and "How fast does it go?" After about one hour, another Saturn rep came over to the car. She turned on the microphone and gave a good 5 minute description of the car, which drew lots more people over. Everyone kept asking for written info, detailed specs, or other freebies, but all I could find was the photocopied 2-side sheet. Wished I had more, including charger maps!"
The purpose for the club members working the booth was to allow the public to meet the people who are actually driving the car. To answer their questions and to get more vehicles on the road.
Club member Gardner Harris also participated and summed up the event this way. "Was the show successful in terms of getting people into their local Saturn dealers? That's a question that can only be answered by GM/Saturn."
According to Pat Ward of Electric Vehicle Marketing Services, EV1 sales are up for January and the first part of February. We now have 325 cars on the road and this is up from 300 at the first of the year. It looks like our efforts at the LA Auto Show are paying off. Congratulations EV1 Club.
John Campbell is an EV1 Driver and EV1 Club member. John owns four Saturn Retail outlets in Orange County. Because of his position he has a unique perspective on our car and its future.
21c John tell us about your EV1 point of view.
JC I am probably the only EV1 retailer who is also an EV1 driver and diehard clean air fanatic. This gives me a somewhat unique perspective on things.
21c John, why are you so high on the EV1 ?
JC I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I remember as a kid in the 60's going outside to play and only being able to do so for about an hour on a summer afternoon. After an hour, my lungs were so choked with smog that I had to go to the one room in our house with a window air conditioner, shut the door, turn out the lights, lie on the bed and take shallow breaths usually for another hour or so until I could breathe normally again. I do not have any respiratory ailments. That is just how bad it was. The smog controls of the 70's and 80's have improved that situation ......but it's not enough. We need pollution free vehicles to take this improvement to the next level and restore the healthy, clean air that once existed here. It is time that we realize we need not make a choice between a healthy economy and healthy environment. We have the technology and the brain power to do both. Therein lies the next wave of progress in the human condition.
21c How do you feel about the first year of the EV1?
JC I am very pleased that we have such an enthusiastic owner body, but I am disappointed that the owner body is not larger than it is. I was involved with the planning of the EV1 launch for 18 months before it occurred. A number of assumptions were made about the likely customer, market acceptability, pricing, potential demand, etc. Many of these assumptions were wrong. We were in uncharted territory. As a result, many of our sales and marketing strategies, in hindsight, were wrong. Now we have a year's real world experience. We need to change things and there are no more excuses.
21c How do you feel about GM's commitment to electric vehicles?
JC I would be less than candid if I did not say that for a while earlier this year, I had my doubts. But, since the appointment of Frank Pereira as Brand Manager, those doubts have been erased. The leadership of General Motors understands that the ICE is going to be phased out and they want to be the leading company in doing so. They are and will continue to spend a lot of money on this project. Yes, there are some things they are not doing that I wish they would do. I wish they could be more open about future product direction, but competitive reasons prevent them from doing so. But while other manufacturers are maximizing their electric car public relations, GM is the only one putting substantial numbers of cars and chargers on the street.
21c What has been your favorite reaction to the EV1?
JC Kids. I, probably like many of you, have taken the car to schools to show it to kids. Invariably, without exception, every kid thinks the car is "cool" and sees this as their future. I love to see their faces when they see it, hear it and ride in it. Most of these kids think it's "cooler" than Ferraris or Porsches. What's that saying? "From the mouths of babes "
21c What is your vision for EV1?
JC Rome wasn't built in a day. But, every day a little more got built. We need to make sure we are continually moving ahead. When things don't go as planned, we need to regroup and try something new. My goal is to make EV's an acceptable alternative to ICE cars for more and more people and to widen number and types of people who drive them. I would like to see Orange County become the most EV friendly place on earth and for Saturn to be the dominant force in making that reality. Some of the initiatives that I have planned for 1998 are:
21c Is there anything else you would like to add?
JC Yes. Call me naive if you want. But we are going to succeed because we are doing the right thing.
Thank you. 21c
"We have come to rely upon a comfortable time lag of fifty years or a century intervening between the perception that something ought to be done and a serious attempt to do it." H.G. Wells .
One of the problems of public charging is keeping the chargers unblocked by
Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars. Because many of these spaces are prime
spots, the temptation is strong for their unauthorized use by non EV1s.
One strategy is to place the charger between two spaces. This way the
charger can serve two spaces instead of only one. This still doesn't stop two
cars from blocking you from getting a charge.
I came up with another idea for a better location (sometimes). This is better
in certain locations, such as:
At the last EV1 meeting I relocated a floor mount charger between two spaces,in front of one of those small trees (at AQMD), by the entrance to the two spaces. Now you can see two EV1s can use the charger.
This is similar to the two chargers between two spaces. But wait theres more here than meets the eye. If both spaces are occupied by an ICE car, you can park in the driveway (blocking the ice car in and still charge, while you wait.
I think that this approach will both provide almost complete access to
chargers that are blocked by ICE cars,and attended access for a second
vehicle, especially where only one space is available (and one charger)to be
designated for EV use.
This could make ice violations less painful to us all, and remove frustrations.....Jeff.
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