EVs make big splash in Super Bowl ads

The Super Bowl TV ads draw nearly as much attention as the game itself, but this year as fans watched the Kansas City Chiefs come from behind for a win over the San Francisco 49ers, they were treated to not one, but several ads pushing electric vehicles.

POLITICO’s Morning Energy Report explained:

SUPER BOWL ADS GO ELECTRIC: The energy industry has frequently plopped down millions for expensive Super Bowl spots, whether it be with ads from oil companies or corporations touting their renewable credentials . Some of those have drawn scorn from environmentalists, such as the American Petroleum Institute spot in 2017 that touted wide usages for petroleum and natural gas. But last night’s match-up seemed to offer up a shift in the energy world — toward electric vehicles.

General Motors, Audi and Porsche all unveiled ads on their latest EVs during the Big Game. Porsche’s spot during the first quarter was the auto company’s first Super Bowl ad in 23 years — making it all the more noteworthy the ad was all about its all-electric sports car. Audi’s electric car spot featured “Game of Thrones” actress Maisie Williams singing “Let It Go” while driving an EV, after a radio announcer mentions rising temperatures.

“Lets drive to a more sustainable future,” touts the ad that is also interspersed with images of plastic waste and vehicle exhaust. The “biggest night in American football” was the perfect time for Audi to share its “strategic path toward sustainable premium mobility with a worldwide audience,” said Sven Schuwirth, head of brand Audi, digital business and customer experience, in a release ahead of the commercial.

And GM used its second-quarter airtime for an ad featuring LeBron James, unveiling its first all-electric Hummer. As the Associated Press reports, the ad marks a turning-point for Hummer, which “attracted a devoted following among SUV lovers, who were drawn to the off-road ready vehicles” but “drew scorn from environmentalists and sales never recovered after gasoline prices spiked above $4 a gallon in the summer of 2008.”

That shift in the auto industry’s messaging comes as electric vehicles’ share of the U.S. passenger vehicle fleet steadily increases — and as presidential candidates and Democrats on the Hill have highlighted EVs in their infrastructure plans as crucial to reducing carbon emissions and staving off the worst effects of climate change. But it also follows studies that show drivers remain cautious about ditching gas-fired vehicles, as Axios recently highlighted , and as oil-backed groups oppose state campaigns to build charging stations across the country, as POLITICO’s Gavin Bade reported last year.

But POLITICO failed to mention what this editor believes was the best EV ad—-Bill Murray’s return of his GroundHog Day commercial.