May 28

Volt Solves Zombie Anxiety

 

It won a film award in Spain, it’s not coming to the U.S., and frankly, it’s not that big of a deal because a recent Chevy Volt ad sidesteps the actual target its makers no doubt thought of in highlighting primordial fears associated with “range anxiety.”

Face it, some people today would worry about electric cars in the event of a terrorist attack, or calamity, or emergency – or some reason for needing to hightail it out of town.

Beyond that, GM has always emphasized the Volt solves a perceived everyday problem of limited electric range by offering gasoline backup serviceable at normally available gas stations.

Volt and Zombies

 

That said, the “Zombie Ride” Volt ad done for the Barcelona 2012 Video Contest playing off of subconscious fears baked in from Hollywood-style post-apocalyptic scenarios features a gasoline car running out of gas while zombies chase two guys running from the mutants left from the catastrophe.

Portrayed this way, the film maker bypassed his opportunity to implicitly diss the likes of the Nissan Leaf, or Mitsubishi i, Ford Focus Electric, or any other electric car that can go 70-100-some miles before running out of juice without a plug in sight.

Instead, the poor refugees picked a gasoline-powered clunker car that runs to Empty, with zombies closing in.

To be fair to more optimistic critiques, we’ll note others have observed this is a first Volt ad that emphasizes the car’s ability to travel on electricity when gas leaves you stranded.

This is possible. The European Volt and Ampera do have a “Hold” feature enabling them to run exclusively on gasoline, saving the battery power for later.

OK, we get that point too, but assuming it was in electric mode – and ignoring that the Mazda in the ad is in the western desert with a California license plate – the Volt would be a victim of range anxiety soon enough – possibly sooner than a Leaf for that matter which has a larger battery.

And otherwise, how much difference does it make comparing gas car versus gas-electric Volt? Those guys could have stashed a couple of 5-gallon gas cans in the trunk and put hundreds of miles between them and disaster.

Their odds were otherwise nearly equal to the Volt’s extended-range solution, but perhaps the filmmaker was being too polite?

 

The ad even made up a new definition of “Range Anxiety: The fear of being stranded in an automotive vehicle.’’

Nope, sorry. That is not what was said before. The message has consistently been the Volt beats EVs as a solution for range anxiety and offers all the advantages of a gasoline car.

Oh well. It’s an novel commercial at any rate. People can be entertained for a minute and still get the point, even if it is watered down.

Green Car Reports

This entry was posted on Monday, May 28th, 2012 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 21


  1. 1
    Nelson

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    May 28th, 2012 (8:12 am)

    I like it. Cool tune, pretty girl, sharp looking Volt.
    My take-a-way was “High tech saves the day.”

    Enjoy your Memorial Day and remember those who have lost their lives serving their country.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  2. 2
    James McQuaid

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    May 28th, 2012 (8:36 am)

    What did one zombie say to the other zombie while they were eating the staff of Consumer Reports?
    “This tastes like s**t.”

    In all seriousness, Nelson is right. Take a moment to reflect on those who lost their lives serving this country.


  3. 3
    crew

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    May 28th, 2012 (9:29 am)

    I think you missed the eventual point.

    Oil is finite.

    For today, though, forget the trouble over oil and remember our fallen defenders.


  4. 4
    George S. Bower

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    May 28th, 2012 (10:04 am)

    Cute video actually. I was sure it would be bad but it wasn’t. …and they didn’t put Chevy runs deep at the end…which is also good.

    That pretty lady looks and sounds familiar. I wonder where I’ve seen her before.


  5. 5
    Steve

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    May 28th, 2012 (10:49 am)

    I hate these idiotic zombie apocalypse movies. With the collapse of civilization, there is will be no infrastructure for electricity or gasoline. Car commercials more and more seem to not say anything relevant about the actual car.


  6. 6
    Mark Z

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    May 28th, 2012 (11:17 am)

    Actually this is an interesting prophetic reality of a nuclear disaster in California when supplies run low and people roam the streets in search of food. The zombies were not in a fallout shelter and have suffered radiation effects. Those protected by the fallout are now trying to escape, and the lady had the foresight to plug-in to save fuel for an emergency. Avoiding the nuclear confrontation is a huge reason to keep our military and national defense strong. A huge thank you to our armed forces that help keep our country safe from harm.

    A similar situation could occur when the San Andreas Earthquake “big one” hits the state. EV owners can survive by keeping their gas powered backup car full of gas by using the electric car locally. The Volt is a more economical and flexible alternative, especially when the survivors in Las Vegas have plenty of hydroelectric power but no gasoline due to supplies running low.


  7. 7
    DonC

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    May 28th, 2012 (11:28 am)

    My favorite Volt ad without question. What makes it work is that it’s totally unexpected. First you have no idea it’s going to be a car ad. Then you get everything turned around — the electric car saving the day when you run out of gas — rather than the gas engine saving the day when you run out of battery — and the damsel saving the knights rather than the traditional knights saving damsel. The production values are also top notch.

    Running out of gas is BTW not a fantasy.


  8. 8
    James McQuaid

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    May 28th, 2012 (11:33 am)

    @ George
    That actress is Chloe Zak (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4646781/). She has also portrayed a vampire in a commercial for teeth whitening strips.

    @ Steve
    There are some really bad zombie movies coming out on DVD (i.e. “Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies”, etc.).

    @ Mark
    I hope that this does not turn out be “prophetic reality”…

    The Miami Police actually shot a zombie yesterday:
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-usa-miamishootingl1e8gr1o7-20120527,0,4065570.story


  9. 9
    stuart22

     

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    May 28th, 2012 (12:15 pm)

    It’s a cute ad even though it doesn’t have much of a message. Let’s not waste time and effort trying to make it more than the entertainment that it is – any car could have stopped and picked the two guys up; it just happened to be a Volt driven by a beautiful babe.


  10. 10
    George S. Bower

     

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    May 28th, 2012 (12:51 pm)

    James McQuaid,

    Thx for the link. There’s some good photos there!!


  11. 11
    James

     

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    May 28th, 2012 (1:27 pm)

    For the trouble and expense of the ad, it seems weak that GM did’nt diss LEAF like Nissan did Volt. Exchange the little Mazda ICE for a LEAF, electric anxiety over gas and run the ad here in America. Except that LEAF sales are looking worse than anemic, so it’d be a moot point. Plus – it’s worth noting that GM was above the Nissan low blow seemingly taking the high road.

    I’m thinking the ad was made for the U.S. since the car has U.S. ( California? ) license plates and appears to be made in the Nevada desert. Maybe GM ad execs, for the reasons above, realized the ad wouldn’t play here so they got some use out of it in Europe ( gas range anxiety? Really? ) and hey – IT WON AN AWARD! :)

    Might I add an OT here: Can some of you Tweet your opinion re: Google’s extremely poor Memorial Day showing on it’s search engine? I’ve had Google as my homepage for years and years but today I’m switching to Bing. Why? Just think of all the well-known and obscure artists and musicians, inventors, political activists, whimsical holidays and such that got a HUGE BLAZING GOOGLE DOODLE on their day of memorial, but when time comes to remember and celebrate our fallen HEROS – men and women who fell in service to our freedoms – Google decides: No Google Doodle, but a tiny flag with a yellow ribbon is appropriate. GOODBYE GOOGLE. Please post your opinions on Twitter and elsewhere. I feel the omission is shameful, at the least.

    PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN ON MEMORIAL DAY!

    A fantastic holiday weekend to all!

    James


  12. 12
    harrier

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    May 28th, 2012 (1:35 pm)

    Fun… timely… hilarious. And they even put a sexy lady in the ad. Things are looking up for the Volt ;-) .

    Have a great Memorial Day and remember why this is a holiday.

    Harrier


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    nasaman

     

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    May 28th, 2012 (1:39 pm)

    DonC: My favorite Volt ad without question. What makes it work is that it’s totally unexpected. First you have no idea it’s going to be a car ad. Then you get everything turned around — the electric car saving the day when you run out of gas — rather than the gas engine saving the day when you run out of battery — and the damsel saving the knights rather than the traditional knights saving damsel. The production values are also top notch.

    Running out of gas is BTW not a fantasy.

    I agree, Don! For me, this clever ad was an instant flashback to the brilliant post-apocalyptic film “ELI” (or rather, “The Book of ELI”) in which the lead was expertly played by Denzel Washington.


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    stuart22

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    May 28th, 2012 (4:12 pm)

    This would have been the perfect Super Bowl ad for the Volt. Because the Super Bowl is the only television show or event I can think of where viewers intentionally watch the ads for entertainment.

    Instead, we got the space alien ad which sucked.


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    Slapshot28

     

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    May 28th, 2012 (4:12 pm)

    James:

    Might I add an OT here: Can some of you Tweet your opinion re: Google’s extremely poor Memorial Day showing on it’s search engine? I’ve had Google as my homepage for years and years but today I’m switching to Bing. Why? Just think of all the well-known and obscure artists and musicians, inventors, political activists, whimsical holidays and such that got a HUGE BLAZING GOOGLE DOODLE on their day of memorial, but when time comes to remember and celebrate our fallen HEROS –men and women who fell in service to our freedoms – Google decides: No Google Doodle, but a tiny flag with a yellow ribbon is appropriate. GOODBYE GOOGLE. Please post your opinions on Twitter and elsewhere. I feel the omission is shameful, at the least.

    PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN ON MEMORIAL DAY!

    A fantastic holiday weekend to all!

    James

    I agree with you on the whole; however, in prior years Google has been roundly lambasted by international users for overt displays of American patriotism. The book, “I’m Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59,” describes how tormented the Google executives feel about this very topic, and how they have decided to continue to be patriotic, but in a much more subdued manner.


  16. 16
    Huge Fire from BYD EV

     

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    May 28th, 2012 (4:33 pm)

    Look at this:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303807404577431330123945066.html
    http://img001.photo.21cn.com/photos/album/20120528/o/45138B814AEE90C3CA951DB6F9879ADB.jpg
    http://pic.xcarimg.com/img/news_photo/2012/05/28/6AC0LEWj2J1367.jpg

    The speed during the accident was about 110 mph, I would strongly recommend GM does similar test >100 mph, because you never know if some a**hole will crash in a similar way, the NHTSA debacle last year clearly showed if the Volt battery was crushed severely, it may catch fire, probably not as bad as BYD! Even an ICE may explode under such blunt force!


  17. 17
    kdawg

     

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    May 28th, 2012 (7:01 pm)

    Speaking of EREV’s in the wild; look what I saw in Chicago this weekend. It was definitely drawing a lot of attention.

    FK.jpg


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    jeffhre

     

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    May 28th, 2012 (10:29 pm)

    James,

    I have no issue with the flag and ribbon Google put up for Memorial Day 2012. Have a great one everyone!


  19. 19
    jeffhre

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    May 28th, 2012 (10:38 pm)

    “Nope, sorry. That is not what was said before. The message has consistently been the Volt beats EVs as a solution for range anxiety and offers all the advantages of a gasoline car.”

    – perhaps that is not so true in Spain :)

    stuart22:
    It’s a cute ad even though it doesn’t have much of a message.Let’s not waste time and effort trying to make it more than the entertainment that it is – any car could have stopped and picked the two guys up; it just happened to be a Volt driven by a beautiful babe.

    As I envision a post apocalyptic world, where large scale endeavors like gasoline refineries quickly go off line (hate to imagine lunch break at the plant when half the employees have gone zombie), a simple plug powered from a solar array would be a welcome lifeline. If the driver happens to be so cool and calm under pressure, all the better! I’m not going to worry about what happens 40 miles later when I can ride in that kind of style :)


  20. 20
    Raymondjram

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    May 29th, 2012 (9:17 am)

    James McQuaid:
    What did one zombie say to the other zombie while they were eating the staff of Consumer Reports?
    “This tastes like s**t.”

    That reminded me of what one cannibal said to another cannibal while eating a circus clown: “Does this taste funny to you?”

    Raymond


  21. 21
    Flipper

     

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    May 29th, 2012 (5:02 pm)

    To recap the write-up:

    http://jalopnik.com/5626306/how-gm-will-use-fear-to-sell-you-a-chevy-volt
    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/08/gm-wants-to-trademark-range-anxiety/

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch of daily reality, which is more like the ad:

    http://www.overlandjournal.com/media/news_and_press/overland_journal_team_comes_to_aid_of_missing_elderly_man/

    http://www.autonews.com/article/20110425/BLOG06/110429918
    http://www.japanfs.org/en/pages/031359.html

    http://gas2.org/2012/05/14/ttxgp-infineon-raceway-2012-onboard-video-footage/
    The top plug-in qualifying lap is now faster than the same rider on a fully warmed up 1200cc sportser full gasser in racing, for improved zombie outrunning (zombies at the starting line up on the track and an electric power on but ambient temperature engine at 0 rpm with drivers running fron the sidelines start as part of the race is currently actively under consideration by Formula One for the next post-apocolyptic season (a small step from the dense smog at Beijing and protestor snipers at Bahrain)). The extra quick acceleration off the line that added electric drive provides is absolutely the most critical part of avoiding infection by zombies (the Monaco F1 cluster-start this past week showed this). One slow brain bite at the start is all it takes, as past Volt detractors and full gasser drivers have already shown.

    And this is on topic.