Value Vs. Virtue in the Battle of the Electric Cars

The Chevy Volt was designed to reduce what marketers call “range anxiety”—the fear of running out of juice when consumers run out to buy some juice.

That’s why the highly touted electric vehicle also has a gas engine that kicks in when its plug-in power runs down after 25 to 50 miles.

Makes perfect sense—even if  the tagline “more car than electric” isn’t very inspiring (or grammatical, for that matter).

But I wonder if the most likely buyers of electric vehicles really want a value-driven message (drive further, fearlessly) or a virtue-driven message (be a protagonist of positive change).

I’m betting on the latter—and that the unconventionally designed and inventively promoted Nissan Leaf will be the more successful electric vehicle once novelty sales subside.

Makes me wonder: Does Chevy really think everyday consumers will pay $40K+ for an electric “freedom machine”? Or is the ad above just trying to elevate consumer perceptions of the resurgent Chevy brand?