Electric cars heat up

Although Nissan's LEAF and Chevrolet's Volt aren't scheduled to launch until later this year, the buzz has already begun.

The LEAF may not be launching in Canada until fall, but Nissan has been generating buzz for over a year. It launched Nissan.ca/LEAF last April, and recently added Facebook and Twitter.
“I think it drives a halo for the Nissan brand, which is the number one reason we’re doing things as far in advance as we’re doing them,” says Judy Wheeler, director of marketing, Nissan Canada. Wheeler notes that without any advertising (and only limited PR activity), they’ve already amassed over 450 followers on Facebook since late March. The car co has also had over 11,000 Canadians sign up to receive updates. A campaign based on an idea from TBWAToronto and created by TBWAChiatDay in the U.S. recently began running south of the border, and will air here in late summer/early fall.
Launching its own electric car around the same time as the LEAF, Chevrolet has already begun running anthem ads, which feature its hybrid Volt prominently, created by MacLaren McCann. Chevy has also announced partnerships with BC Hydro and Hydro Quebec, with the utilities integrating Volts into their fleets of vehicles. And Chevrolet spokesperson Jason Easton says that the car co will be ramping up its Volt marketing efforts in the next few months.
No doubt the electric car market will heat up into 2012, with offerings from Ford, Toyota and Mitsubishi also on the horizon.