Electric Cars

VW's Electrify America launches first ad campaign... with a Bolt EV

The ads are part of a larger campaign to help steer more car buyers toward electric vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

Electrify America

As part of its Dieselgate settlement, Volkswagen agreed to spend $2 billion in the US promoting electric vehicles. Its first ad campaign is ready to hit the airwaves, and it's a pretty good one.

The "JetStones" commercial from Electrify America is pretty straightforward. Using the Jetsons theme, the ad highlights the instant torque that comes from an electric vehicle in addition to showing just how far we've come in terms of environmentally friendly cars over the last couple decades. It's quick and to the point. It features a Chevrolet Bolt EV prominently, but the end of the commercial shows off electric vehicles from a variety of automakers, including Honda, Nissan and, yes, Volkswagen. At no point is any specific automaker actually called out, but if you've seen a Bolt EV, you'll know what car it is.

No automaker is specifically mentioned in the ad, though, and that's on purpose. Electrify America was created as part of Volkswagen's penance for intentionally misleading the public and the government regarding its diesel vehicles. Volkswagen agreed to spend billions to educate the public on the benefits of EVs, but it's not allowed to do it in a way that specifically benefits Volkswagen's own electrification efforts. For example, Electrify America is allowed to spend money installing chargers on the roadside, but it can't create a charging standard that would put other automakers at a disadvantage.

The JetStones ad is just one part of a larger advertising effort to make more consumers consider an electrified vehicle. Electrify America also launched a website called Plug into the Present that dives into various parts of the EV experience that buyers might not fully know about, like range, cost or charging infrastructure. The commercial will be on television through next June, at which point I imagine we'll have had enough of The Jetsons' theme song. The whole campaign will cost about $45 million, or about 2.25 percent of what Electrify America intends to spend over the next decade.