Fuel Challenges for Electric Cars: Tell Us How You’d Highlight the Savings of Going Electric

How do you best advertise the benefits of switching from traditional fossil fuelled vehicles to an electric car? It’s a question that is often discussed on our Transport Evolved Panel Talk Show, not to mention in countless Internet forums and of course, automotive board rooms.

Nissan's latest ad campaign for its e-NV200 is to focus on running costs.

Nissan’s latest ad campaign for its e-NV200 is to focus on running costs.

Until recently, the majority of plug-in manufacturers have chosen to highlight the environmental responsibility or convenience of driving electric, with some even choosing to highlight the many everyday benefits of driving an EV, such as HOV-lane access.  Despite the many benefits however, many people are put off by the traditionally-higher sticker price of plug-in cars, focusing on initial outlay rather than financial long-term savings.

But how do you emphasise those long-term savings in a way that everyone can understand? The answer: fuel cost challenges.

Enter Nissan GB, which has recently launched a £2 fuel challenge for would-be Nissan e-NV200 customers in an attempt to highlight just how little an electric vehicle costs to run on an everyday basis. Focusing on fleet customers, where savings can be massively multiplied across an entire fleet, Nissan has been challenging business owners to see how much of their everyday driving can be carried out on a single full charge — equivalent to around £2 ($3.20) of electricity at current rates.

And the challenge is fronted by UK TV handyman and celebrity builder Tommy Walsh.

One of the first to accept the challenge is the Ergro Group, an air conditioning installation and service company based in Dartford, south-east London. With a full charge, the van, complete with Ergro engineer Charlie Morgan, some video cameras and of course Tommy Walsh, headed out to see if the e-NV200 really could easily manage life as a fleet vehicle.

Despite a full day of service calls and a variety of different road types from freeway to surface streets, the van returned back to the depot that night with just under a half of its original £2 charge, totalling in just £1.20 in fuel costs for the entire day. It had covered a total of 43 miles.

Obviously, the challenge and the video is a clever publicity stunt on Nissan’s part, but with a single fuel bill of £312 per van per year based on the highlighted trip, the potential fuel savings for any fleet operator as immense.

Fleet operators think with their balance sheet. Do consumers?

Fleet operators think with their balance sheet. Do consumers?

In the case of Ergro, which operates a fleet of 35 vehicles, a fleet of 35 Nissan e-NV200 vans would cost somewhere around £10,920 to fuel per year, assuming they all made similar 43-mile trips every day. Paying for conventional diesel or gasoline would cost several order of magnitudes more.

But with the purchase price of plug-in vehicles inching ever-closer to their internal combustion engined counterparts, we think highlighting the cost of running an electric car on a daily basis has to be one of the best ways to encourage people to dump the pump.

And that’s got us thinking. What challenges would you create to encourage people to go electric? What ways would you highlight the fuel savings? And how would you represent them in a metric that made sense to everyday consumers?

Or should electric car ads just focus on the everyday, normal aspects of plugging in? 

Leave your ideas and thoughts in the Comments below.

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  • BEP

    “several order of magnitudes more.” I think you’re exaggerating here.