Tagged 'auto'

Fiat, Tesla and other EV makers confront range anxiety

Price cuts, in conjunction with federal, state and local government incentives in the U.S., have made some electric vehicles very cost effective, and so perhaps more enticing. But range anxiety, the fear of being stranded without enough power to reach one’s destination, a long-documented concern, remains a barrier to wider EV penetration. The obvious solution is to ensure that, as with traditional vehicles, there are sufficient stops along all routes to guarantee that drivers will be able to refuel, or in this case recharge. Indeed, Tesla, Nissan and Chevy have all opted to roll out new charging solutions, including faster chargers and expanded charging networks. In addition, a number of other innovative strategies have emerged.

To quell consumer concerns, Fiat, in a partnership with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, is including 12-days-per-year access to gasoline-powered vehicles that buyers of its 500e can use for long-distance trips. According to the rules of the program, drivers can redeem up to $504 per year at Enterprise’s companies for three years. And Tesla Motors, which has seen its stock soar, recently debuted a battery-swapping system that will allow customers to have their battery switched out for a fully charged one at Tesla charging stations, rather than wait 30 minutes for a free recharge. The process takes only 90 seconds, which the company emphasizes is faster than a fill-up at a gas station.

Esurance lets brand advocates (and some naysayers) do the talking

The auto insurance world is full of quirky spokespeople, from a talking gecko to Flo, the bubbly saleswoman. With multiple claims circulating from fictional characters, it can be tricky for consumers to determine whom to believe. Esurance addresses consumers’ concerns head on by acknowledging this and inviting people to talk with those they really trust: their peers.

A commercial points to the sometimes tenuous assertions of advertising, asking “What makes you trust a company?” The ad shows that neither a talking dog nor flashy commercials will inspire confidence. Instead, Esurance invites viewers to visit its Facebook profile and chat with real customers. Its Facebook page reads, “Keepin’ it real. Real customers. Real comments. (Really.),” and its wall features some gripes amid generally positive comments.

We’ve previously posted about inspiring confidence in uncertain consumers by using ads that feature uncensored, off-the-cuff consumer comments. (A Hyundai campaign, for instance, boasted of “Real people. Real comments.”) Esurance goes a step further by switching to social media and trusting that brand advocates will take over from there. This kind of transparency helps to inspire confidence while also allowing people to start a dialogue with the brand.