You’ll hear us mention rather frequently about the growing level of government support for electric vehicles. This support is helping (hopefully) to remove barriers that may keep consumers from adopting new EVs and building the necessary infrastructure so they can thrive. However, it is important not to underestimate one of the most important factors in how quickly this country embraces electric vehicles: the enthusiasm and interest of the general public.
Today, one of the easiest ways to capture consumer response is social media. The social media space is a way for the public to interact with their favorite products, brands or companies on a new, personal level. And hundreds of thousands of people are getting to know EVs through social media channels.
The official Chevrolet Volt Facebook page already has nearly 55,000 “Likes” and growing. Though the pace of EV sales has been steady, this number is staggering considering that only 2,184 Volts have been sold this year. The Nissan Leaf Facebook page has nearly double the fanfare, with close to 108,000 “Likes” despite the only 2,167 vehicles that have made it on to the roads.
The online popularity of these vehicles and how that popularity translates into long-term sales is still to be determined. Yet the numbers do show that consumers are enthusiastic and want to learn more. Social media channels like Facebook serve as a way to satisfy the desire for information among the growing electric vehicle fan base.
Recently, Toyota, the producer of the most popular hybrid vehicle in the U.S., announced it was developing a private social network exclusively for Toyota customers and their vehicles. The appropriately named Toyota Friend is a way for electric car and plug-in hybrid customers to connect remotely to their vehicles using smart phones and the Internet. From there, they can examine the vehicle’s energy usage, check battery status, manage charging and set routes.
Here at the NFPA EV Blog, we also continue to embrace social media as a way to share information with our audience. Aside from the blog itself, NFPA manages a Facebook page and Twitterfeed with regular news and updates about the EV project and other items important to the firefighter and first responder communities. We encourage you to follow us, friend us or simply pass along the message to friends and colleagues.
Angela Burke, NFPA