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November 12, 2019
Leading Automakers Spent Less Than 10 Percent of Advertising Budget on EVs in 2018
Source: EV Hub
Automaker spending on marketing for conventional vehicles eclipsed the comparably paltry efforts to promote EV offerings in California and the Northeast in 2018, according to a new report by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM). The study combines the ad spending on the six most popular EVs and conventional models for six leading automakers including Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Through 2018, the six EVs only garnered $22 million in ad expenditure compared to $230 million for the six most popular conventional models.

Accelerating from almost no ad spending in 2017 to more than $9 million across both the California and Northeast markets in 2018, the Nissan Leaf was the only EV model from the study that saw a substantial increase in marketing. The Toyota Prius Prime and Ford Fusion Energi saw modest increases while the Bolt dropped to almost no advertising in 2018. Three out of the six EVs observed received almost no advertising investment in the Northeast. Even the high mark for ad spending set by the Leaf does not come close to the roughly $60 million Nissan poured into marketing for their conventional model the Rogue.

Persistent low investment in EV advertising is at odds with the acceleration of electrification commitments by the automakers in this study. These companies have pledged millions toward EV development over the past two years. Toyota leads the group with more than $15 billion committed, followed by Fiat-Chrysler and Ford with $13.5 billion and $11 billion committed respectively. None of these automakers have an all-electric vehicle in production currently. Ford, which discontinued many of their EVs in 2018, is expanding their partnership with Volkswagen to reinvent their electric offerings. VW is the industry leader in commitments to electrification with more than $94 billion pledged and will help Ford make good on plans to introduce 16 new all-electric EV models by 2022.

Investment in new models alone is unlikely to accelerate EV sales, which were down 21 percent in the third quarter compared to 2018. Even Tesla, which benefits from particularly high EV brand awareness among consumers, saw sales drop almost 20 percent in the third quarter. Several of the new models introduced to the market in 2019 including the Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro have faced limited production runs and low uptake throughout the year. Even in California, where EV advertisement is concentrated, consumer awareness remained unchanged between 2014 and 2017 according to research from the University of California at Davis. The authors of the study argue that EV demand is unlikely to increase without further investment in educational campaigns targeting the major concerns that prevent drivers from switching to electric.

Automakers are not alone in the push for transportation electrification or efforts to influence driver behavior. Electric utilities play a key role in direct outreach to the public based on the nature of their relationships with customers, according to the Edison Electric Institute. The proportion of approved utility investment in EV awareness out of total investment in transportation electrification has risen from two percent to roughly 3.5 percent since August, although total investment in education efforts is still less than $50 million nationwide. As EV sales slow, the need to foster EV awareness becomes more pressing. Organizations like NESCAUM are bringing utilities, states, and automakers together with initiatives like the “Drive Change. Drive Electric” campaign to increase consumer awareness and inspire more investment in the promotion of EVs.
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Join Us for Our 2019 Q3 Review on November 19th

Every quarter, join us for a webinar to review what we’ve learned about transportation electrification in the United States. These webinars are free to all and we encourage you to share this meeting information with your network. All content from the webinar are based on information available on EV Hub.

We’re holding the Q3 webinar on November 19th at 2pm ET. For Q3 in 2019, our main takeaways are Tesla continues U.S. sales leadership, states battle with the Trump administration on emissions standards, and the amount of investments from utilities that was rejected exceeded funds that were approved. Read More Here

Michigan Awards $4.2 million in VW Settlement Money for Electric School Buses

On September 12, 2019, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced an award of roughly $4.2 million to go towards the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation Electric School Bus Pilot Project. The first buses are expected to be in operation by Fall 2019 and will be deployed in areas that suffer disproportionate air pollution burdens. The buses will also be equipped with technology to enable bi-directional vehicle-to-grid power exchange. 

This pilot program represents the first school bus award made by the state through the VW Settlement funds. Michigan is only the fifth state to use settlement funds to invest in electric school buses. This award more than doubles the $4 million of VW Settlement funds invested in this technology to date. Read More Here

California Energy Commission Approves $95 Million for EV Charging and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure

On September 11, 2019, the California Energy Commission (CEC) announced the approval of $95 million in new investments to go towards clean transportation programs throughout the state. The investments will contribute to CEC’s Clean Transportation Program that seeks to accelerate progress towards the state’s climate and clean transportation goals.

The $62.7 million being invested in EV charging infrastructure increases the state’s total public funding for EV charging to almost $200 million according to the Public Funding Awards dashboardRead More Here

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Upcoming Events

The emergence of electric scooters into the roadways has changed the landscape of first and last mile transportation in cities. At this webinar, Forth's Sr. Director of Public Affairs and Policy will be joined by guest speakers to discuss current policies around micromobility guidelines and how city and state regulations can create safe streets while meeting sustainability, safety, and economic goals. Read More Here

November 12th @ 10am PDT

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) hold great promise for reducing pollutant emissions from the vehicle sector since BEVs outperform conventional vehicles in most environmental metrics. The lithium-ion battery that stores the vehicle’s energy has become a point of concern for its effect on pollutant emissions and for uncertainty regarding its future end-of-life. Jarod Kelly, Argonne National Laboratory, will examine the used BEV market (as a means toward social equity), the opportunity for second-life applications of the BEV’s battery, and life cycle environmental effects associated with BEVs. Read More Here

November 14th @ 3:30pm EST

We’re holding the Q3 webinar on November 19th at 2pm ET. For Q3 in 2019, our main takeaways are Tesla continues U.S. sales leadership, states battle with the Trump administration on emissions standards, and the amount of investments from utilities that was rejected exceeded funds that were approved. Read More Here

November 19th @ 2pm EST

Daimler Trucks North America is at the forefront of heavy-duty fleet electrification and is revolutionizing transportation electrification in Oregon. Forth's November networking event will be hosted at the DTNA corporate headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Forth will be joined by leaders in DTNA’s Electric Mobility Group to discuss future strategies for managing the increasingly heavy electrical load. Read More Here

November 20th @ 4pm PDT at Daimler Trucks HQ in Portland, OR

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