Would You Like To Buy A Tank Of Gas For $2.50? (Video)

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Suppose you went to the gas station, filled up your car or SUV, and then the pump said you had to go inside to pay.

And suppose that even though your total was $40 or $50 (maybe more), the cashier smiled and charged you ... $2.50.

What would the expression on your face be?

That's the premise of a cheerful new ad for the Holden Volt range-extended electric car, which is what the Chevy Volt is called when sold in Australia.

Or as the description says, "16 hidden cameras, 1 fake attendant, and a whole lot of surprises..."

The whole thing is a marketing pitch to give unsuspecting drivers a visceral understanding of what it costs to recharge the Volt's lithium-ion battery pack: about $2.50 in Oz, apparently.

That gets you about 40 miles, as the promotion makes clear--not the 300 miles or more that the $50 fillup might provide.

And of course, people buy plug-in electric cars for many reasons, only one of which is to save money on operating costs.

Still, we found the ad charming and wanted to share it with you. You can watch it above.

If nothing else, it's a more cheerful and brash way to promote the benefits of a plug-in electric car that the earnest, dour Volt owners shot with a car against a plain background in U.S. Volt ads.

What do you think of the Aussie ad? Do you think it would startle people enough to get them talking about the benefits of electric cars?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.

[hat tip: Brian Henderson]


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Comments (23)
  1. Very cute ad. I don't why it can't be shown here. I've often run across car ads run in foreign markets that would really work in the US but never get shown.

    Was the Volt around back behind the gas station? I think it's only a matter of time before gas station/convenience stores start putting in DC fast chargers. They have two big huge advantages in doing so: location and snacks. Right now the whole gas purchase transaction mostly happens at the pump. If you have folk pinned down for 25-30 minutes, they're almost guaranteed to go in the store.

  2. The good people at Murphy's have set up their own Eaton DC chargers in Chattanooga and Indianapolis for Nissan and Mitsubishi owners to use. Hopefully, more will follow. Great idea and I've given them business when visiting with my family. As far as fast charging the Volt, the owners would be out of luck :-)

  3. Brilliant. Genius. Great job GM.

  4. It's cute until people realise that this "full tank" will only get them 38 miles. That's basically like filling up a 38MPG car with $2,50/gallon gas. Since gas prices are well over $5/gallon in Australia that's still pretty cheap but nowhere near as cheap as the ad would have you believe and the "discount" is only for the first 38 miles of course.

    Pretty misleading and therefore probably counter productive.

  5. I really liked the ad. But you make a good point. I can go 380 miles on a tank, not 38. So that $2.50 gets multiplied by 10. Still $25 is cheaper than the $60 tank I get now, but you are right that the ad is misleading.

  6. In most of the U.S. it would cost less than $2.50 to recharge a Volt. I pay about $1.95 to recharge my fully run down LEAF & my battery capacity is much larger than the Volt.

    Cute commercial.

  7. I don't think it is misleading.

    It is clearly stated in that ads that is the cost of the full "charge". That is a fact. And it had the price of per KWh electricity charges displayed in fine print as well.

    That is routinely the case for people who drive less than 40 miles per day.

    As far as 38MPG car goes, on a "longer trip", that is typically hwy or long distance cruising, then the Volt is a 40mpg car. Nobody wants to drive in city mode for 300 miles...

  8. Suggesting that a full 38 miles charge is somehow the same as a full ~380 miles tank sounds pretty misleading to me.

  9. 38 mile is "full charge" like the ad said.

    ICE cars go to gas station for a "full tank" fillup. That is a per tank basis. Nothing wrong with that comparison.

    This is like saying that cost of any BEV "fill up" is way cheaper than a gas tank fillup. Well, you aren't filling it with the same amount of energy so it should be different...

    That ad clearly said that it was a "full charge" and that was correct. It never said Volt's full tank cost that much.

    The only "misleading" part should be a subtitle to explain that Volt also has a tank that can go farther and gets better MPG than the average car sold over there...

  10. Of course it's misleading when I go in to pay $60 (in Oz) for my 10 gallons of gas. You're charging me $2.50 for my purchase instead implying that this is what the equivalent in the Volt would cost. I came here to cover 300 miles on my energy, not 30, so let me pay what I owe you and be on my way. You can read the fine print all day long but the purpose of the ad was to mislead people who as the vast majority have no clue about EVs and the costs involved.

  11. @Jan,

    It would be no different than saying that to fill up your Leaf would cost about $4.80 per tank. That is equally misleading then...

    I don't understand why so many Leaf owners and Chris O are so against the Volt...

  12. Chris; it would be misleading if you had to charge up at the gas station. I can tell you dont have an EV because the convenience of NOT going to the gas station is well worth the price of the gas. think about the people that drive less than 38 miles a day (national medium in US is 29 miles a day in 2012) who would NEVER have to go get gas. I know a guy who has a Volt. has had his for 14 months. I have not seen him lately but last time I talked with him was after 9 months of ownership and he was still on his original tank of gas.

  13. I would agree that for Ossies never driving more than 38 miles per day it would be like driving a 38MPG car at $2,50/gallon all the time. Australia is a pretty big country though, I think that range extender might see plenty of action at $5+/gallon and 36MPG.

  14. So, in the open country like your said, Volt would be getting 40mpg instead of your "36mpg" quote. I don't know where you get that number... 37mpg is the combined and 35mpg is the city number for extended range.

    Like I said, 2013 has EV hold and you will only need hwy cruising MPG and city EV range...

  15. There are more comments in this thread
  16. The ad shows a cost of $0.21/KWh. That is expensive enough to make the Prius competitive...

    A Tesla with 85KWh has about the half range of a Prius. So for the same "tank" size range, a 85KWh x 2 x 0.21 would cost about $35.7

    So, when comparing ICE cars with battery cars, it is best to compare cost per mile instead of cost "per tank". The "tank" distance aren't the same...

    In this case, the cost per mile for Volt is only $0.07/mile in Australian dollar in EV mode.

  17. "That is expensive enough to make the Prius competitive..."

    Great logic there as usual, buddy! Comparing the high cost of energy of Oz to driving Prius where exactly? In the US? Have you considered that the gallon of gas in Australia is over $6? Still as competitive for you?

  18. In the US, it would be competitive for Prius at $0.21/KWh and gas at $3.50/gallon. Not to mention the initial price difference. Also as far as emission goes, it is also competitive as well. Since Oz has a lot of coal based electricity, same as your state of Georgia where Georiga Power has a lot of coal based power...

  19. In Western Australia a full charge offpeak would cost only $1.66. It will get people thinking but the $60,000+ price tag of the Volt is not going to get them many sales!

  20. That's a very smart ad, I like it.

  21. Thats an ad! I LOVE IT!

  22. Apples to apples comparison would net the ~50% discount on the purchase but that's not how the ads work - is it?

    The ~real ad would say "hey, I know you're going 300 miles and you've just put 10 gallons for $60. How about you just give me three bucks now (yay!) and then you've only got 9 more stops at three bucks a piece (whaaa?) to charge for a couple of hours while you're eating your burger. You should get there in 24 hours but you'll save $30. Deal?"

  23. What is wrong with "encouraging" people driving Volt over existing ICEs? That is at least one step toward the reduction of gas usage and electricification. As many Volt buyers found out that 40 miles range is more than enough for their daily usage. That will bring more people into the world of electrification.

    Don't be so biased against Volt just b/c it has an range extender.

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