As GM's recent Cadillac ELR ad alludes to, EV drivers often have higher incomes than hybrid drivers.

Electric Cars Aren’t Just For Tree-Huggers Any More: Even Jerks Buy Them

Ask most EV drivers to describe the personal qualities of their brethren, and they’re likely to paint EV drivers as fairly easy-going folks who are trying to do the right thing by driving a zero-emissions car. In our experience, we’d have to agree: most EV drivers we’ve met have seem good-natured and well-meaning.

Self-aggrandising self-made man? You want a Cadillac ELR, this ad seems to say.

If your self-made vision includes grasping this cord firmly by the hand in a suggestive way, you’ll want an ELR

For the most part, ads for EVs have played on that stereotype too, portraying people who buy EVs as smart, sophisticated, and of course, environmentally conscious. But the latest ad from Cadillac for its ELR range-extended plug-in hybrid questions that notion. Moreover, it portrays the kind of person it wants to buy an ELR as… well, a bit of a jerk.

The range-extended $76,000 luxury car is certainly priced for a premium buyer, someone with more than enough cash to pay more than twice the price of the Chevrolet Volt it is based upon. Watch the advert below however, and you’ll see that Cadillac wants to send the message that real Americans — the successful self-made workaholic types who are fiercely patriotic, hate taking vacations and think Europeans are weak — chose the ELR.

At the risk of stepping into any stereotypical descriptions or further upsetting anyone, we’re just going to give you the transcript of the 60-second ad below. The whole thing is given by a actor Neil McDonough playing the role of a hard-nosed, constantly moving, self-made man. It’s certainly different…

 “Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff? Other countries they work, they stroll home by the cafe. They take August off. Off. Why are you like that? Why aren’t we like that? Because we’re crazy, hard-working believers, that’s why.

Those other countries thing we’re insane. Whatever. Where the Wright Brothers insane? Bill Gates? Les Paul? Ali? Were we nuts when we pointed to the moon? That’s right. We went up there.  And you know what we got? Bored. So we left.

Got a car up there and we left the keys in it. Do you know why? ‘Cause we’re the only ones going back up there, that’s why.

But I digress. It’s pretty simple. You work hard, you create your own luck and ya gotta believe anything is possible. As for all the stuff? That’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August, n’est pa?”

Forget the Tesla, the ad implies. You want a Cadillac ELR instead. Although, we note, the ELR doesn’t actually make an appearance until 15 seconds before the end of the ad.

Of course, we know that all sorts of people drive plug-in cars, and even the nicest of people have an off day. But is this portrayal of a Cadillac ELR — or any plug-in — owner really that accurate? And what does it say about us?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


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  • vdiv

    Neil McDonough reminds me of Martin Clunes in this ad.nnA “Doc Martin” American spinoff anyone? :)nnAnd by all means Doc Marty would indeed drive an ELR instead of a snooty Lexus LS 🙂

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