12:13 PM PST 2/24/2012 by Daniel Miller
Nearly a decade after a review of Toyota Priuses initial pulled up to a red carpet, a nonesuch of both voluptuous styles as well as attention await have carmakers perplexing to recharge seductiveness in environmental autos.
This story initial appeared in a Mar 2 emanate of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
If you've got a sheet to a Oscars as well as you're a Hollywood leader who wants to have a matter about a environment, give Dave Barthmuss during General Motors a ring.
The maestro GM communications physical education instructor says a association is counting upon Hollywood to be "early adopters as well as have it cold to expostulate an electric car." So he's charity rides to a Feb. twenty-six awards uncover in Chevrolet's plug-in hybrid Volt. And with slower-than-expected sales for a Volt, Nissan Leaf as well as pick immature cars, manufacturers could operate all a assistance from a locale it can muster. "If you wish to inspire people opposite a nation to get in to these things there is no improved time to have a matter than now," says Barthmuss.
There is, of course, a fashion for such efforts. Nearly a decade ago, a Toyota Prius had a Hollywood coming-out celebration during a Academy Awards, snagging a arrange of press that carmakers — generally those releasing cutting-edge (and expensive) immature vehicles — covet.
At a 2003 show, about a half-dozen stars together with Cameron Diaz, Harrison Ford as well as Calista Flockhart arrived during a Kodak Theatre in Priuses supposing by Toyota Motor Corp. as well as a internal dealership. It was a undiluted photo-op: Amid a sea of bumbling black Lincoln Town Cars, a compress gas-electric accumulation stood out to viewers during home as well as attendees upon foot a red carpet.
Organized by environmental classification Global Green USA, a Prius pull was a bonus for Toyota, that launched a automobile in 2001 as well as right away sells some-more than 100,000 annually. But Global Green jettisoned a module after a 2008 show, that equates to unless attendees expostulate themselves in their eco-friendly rides (Ed Begley Jr. as well as Tom Hanks as well as Rita Wilson have finished so in their electric Toyota RAV4s) or take Barthmuss up upon his offer, immature cars will mostly be absent from a uncover for a fourth year running.
Some automotive observers hold a celebration business, that done a clever pull upon a emanate a decade ago, could do some-more to hold up a operate of immature cars — generally during a time when there have been a resources of latest options upon a market. "I don't see people possibly in front of a shade or during a at a back of of a shade embracing electric vehicles any some-more in 2012 than they did in 2006, as well as you would have suspicion there would have been a outrageous enlarge in a numbers of people in Hollywood embracing a technology," says Buddy Pepp, comparison physical education instructor executive of a Petersen Automotive Museum.
Analysts contend a slower-than-hoped-for embracing a cause rate — not usually by a showbiz set though nationally — can be attributed to a handful of issues: impending buyers' annoy with latest record as well as reputation-damaging recalls of cars such as a Volt as well as Fisker Karma; a miss of product due to supply-chain issues for a Volt as well as Leaf; as well as a default of affordable immature rides that additionally have been aesthetically appealing. "These vehicles have been removing better. But a lot of people have been starting to say, 'Why would you scapegoat space? Why would you scapegoat my wallet?' " says Rebecca Lindland, an automotive expert with IHS Global Insight.
Expensive niche products such as a Karma as well as a now-discontinued Tesla Roadster, with their six-digit cost tags, have sales sum that have been distant reduce than their some-more mainstream counterparts similar to a Volt (7,395 latest automobile registrations in 2011, according to analytics organisation R.L. Polk & Co.) as well as a Leaf (8,439); in a box of a Roadster, that counts Dustin Hoffman as well as Matt Damon as owners, usually 2,500 were sole during a car's five-year run.
But manufacturers such as Nissan, Chevrolet as well as Fisker contend that in high-profile instances, Hollywood has embraced their newest products. Some have found their approach in to drive-in theatre as well as radio programs; upon CBS' Two as well as a Half Men, for example, Ashton Kutcher's impression drives a Fisker Karma. And many immature cars do equate celebrities as their owners. Leonardo DiCaprio, who was driven to a 2008 Oscars in a Prius supposing by Global Green, owns a $102,000 plug-in hybrid Karma sports car, as do Kutcher, Al Gore, Colin Powell as well as John Lasseter. "Holly-wood actors substantially have a tiny requisite to be a front-runners as well as take that risk, given they can means to take that risk," says Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker. "And it's good to see that a lot of them do it."
But not many will be you do so during a 2012 Oscars. The Hollywood Reporter contacted a member of fourteen actors, producers as well as pick open sum who expostulate all from Fiskers to a $27,700 (after taxation incentives) all-electric Leaf as well as asked possibly any would be receiving his or her immature automobile to a Oscars. A deputy for George Clooney, owners of a $109,000 Roadster electric sports automobile as well as a two-seat $108,000 electric Commuter Cars Tango, says a actress will not take possibly of those cars to a show. Others possibly didn't reply or pronounced they weren't attending.
Matt Petersen, CEO of Global Green, says his association finished a Oscars module given it "no longer was a newness to suggest [a Prius] so you motionless to put a resources in pick areas. It's not a pointer of failure; you consider it is a pointer of success."
At a rise in 2005, a module used about thirty Priuses to packet people to a Academy Awards. "I know it unequivocally was a informative meme as well as was a square of what got people to expostulate hybrid cars," says Petersen. In a deficiency of a Prius program, Global Green has emphasized a annual pre-Oscars party, that will be hold Feb. twenty-two during Avalon Hollywood as well as is sponsored by a Chevy Volt. Some attendees will be driven to a eventuality in Volts, that proceed during $31,645 after taxation incentives. (Volt owners embody Alyssa Milano, Jay Leno as well as Stephen King.)
For those Oscar attendees who demand upon a chauffeured Lincoln Town Car or SUV, a handful of car-service firms, such as Chatsworth-based Econation, suggest hybrid or pick fuel options. Econation will muster a swift of twenty-five cars — together with hybrid Cadillac Escalades as well as ethanol-powered Chevy Suburbans — for a ceremony.
THR additionally reached out to multiform bent agencies as well as inquired about staffers who own electric or plug-in hybrid cars. Representatives for many pronounced they knew of no employees who expostulate such vehicles. The usually representative to come brazen was APA's Thomas Fry, conduct of a Beverly Hills-based company's celebration offered as well as code formation department. In February, he will take smoothness of BMW's Active E electric coupe.
Fry, a Bimmer backer who prolonged has longed for an eco-conscious car, says niche products such as a Karma as well as a Roadster fit a check in conditions of looks as well as opening though have been expensive, whilst a some-more mainstream Leaf isn't aesthetically appreciative to him. Enter a Active E, that BMW is charity as a lease-only prototype. "This is classical BMW; it has extensive acceleration," says Fry. APA is installing a charging hire in a parking garage, where he will be means to block in a E.
Filmmaker Chris Paine, executive of a documentary Revenge of a Electric Car, believes a media grew "tired of a Prius story" as well as in a issue of a car's success, consumers hungered for a some-more modernized product, though it took multiform years for automakers to deliver. Paine, who owns a Volt as well as a Roadster, believes sporty cars such as a Active E as well as Tesla's stirring Model S sedan will assistance reenergize seductiveness in immature cars. "You have to move pattern at a back of in to a equation. … That will have a difference."
Of course, removing actors to take cars to a Oscars isn't a usually approach to foster them. Nissan, for example, has in use what it conditions a Hollywood "insider" as partial of a luminary overdo module for a Leaf, that counts Ryan Reynolds, Francis Ford Coppola, Jeffrey Katzenberg as well as Penn Jillette as owners. Brian Maragno, Nissan's comparison offered physical education instructor in assign of a Leaf, says this person, whom he declines to name, talks up a Leaf to others in a commercial operation as well as offers it up for exam drives. Maragno says he's gratified with Hollywood's joining to a Leaf. "Could it be more? Absolutely. You regularly wish some-more of anything."
Begley, a longtime immature automobile disciple who owns an electric RAV4, says electrics as well as plug-ins have turn hackneyed in his round of friends. He says he helped Hanks as well as Michelle Pfeiffer when they longed for to squeeze electric RAV4s of their own. Begley has been pushing to a Oscars in an electric automobile given 1990, when he took along Annette Bening, who was nominated for her purpose in The Grifters, in a Bradley Automotive electric vehicle. For a past decade, he's driven a RAV4. Begley says he was emboldened by a steer of a younger era of actors who took partial in Global Green's program. And notwithstanding a latest accepting from Hollywood that has seemed lukewarm, Begley stays positive.
"I know when you get there a sum garland of people will come up to me as well as say, 'Ed, you came in my plug-in hybrid!' "
THE STATE OF SALES: The Southland is an critical marketplace for immature automobile manufacturers, accounting for some-more than 10 percent of 2011 purchases of a vital eco vehicles.
- Chevrolet Volt: 740 in Southern California — 10% of sum U.S. sales (7,395)
- Nissan Leaf: 1,507 in Southern California — 18% (8,439)
- Tesla Roadster: 37 in Southern California — 11% (330)
- Toyota Prius: 17,473 in Southern California — 14% (127,945)
Note: Data is formed upon a series of latest cars purebred with a Department of Motor Vehicles in 2011. Southern California interpretation is for a segment that includes L.A., Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Inyo as well as Esmeralda counties.
NEW ELECTRIC AVENUES: Several immature cars have debuted in a past year or so, from a Nissan Leaf to a Fisker Karma, with options during a accumulation of cost points. (The prices remarkable next have been bottom prices, after germane taxation incentives.)
BMW Active E ($499 per month) Based upon a BMW 1 Series, a two-door Active E is accessible usually for a two-year lease. Just 700 examples of a antecedent coupe, that facilities a 168-horsepower motor, have been up for grabs stateside. The initial Active Es were delivered in January.
Chevrolet Volt ($31,645) Chevy's plug-in hybrid debuted in Dec 2010 to good hype. The automobile runs for an estimated 35 miles only upon physical phenomenon prior to a gas engine kicks in, during that indicate a Volt can be driven up to an one more 375 miles. The hatchback was a 2011 Motor Trend Car of a Year.
Fisker Karma ($102,000) Anaheim-based Fisker began offered a Karma oppulance sports sedan in July. The 403-horsepower four-door uses a plug-in hybrid complement as well as has an all-electric operation of 32 miles. The Karma has a solar potion roof tiles as well as uses reclaimed timber in a interior.
Ford Focus Electric ($34,405) Deliveries of a Ford Focus Electric to swift business such as Google began in December; a open should be means to squeeze a four-door in a spring. The all-electric hatchback has a tip speed of 84 miles per hour as well as is propelled by a 123-horsepower motor.
Nissan Leaf ($27,700) Nissan's five-door hatchback went upon sale in Dec 2010, usually prior to a Volt. The all-electric Nissan Leaf has a operation of rounded off 100 miles as well as can be entirely charged in about 7 hours. The 110-horsepower Leaf can be purchased with an discretionary solar row spoiler.
NEXT: Tesla Model S: The publicly traded carmaker during a at a back of of a dropped Tesla Roadster expects to proceed offered a four-door all-electric sedan by July. The car, that will have a bottom cost of $49,900, has 3 battery options — a largest of that gives a S a operation of 300 miles. The S is seen by a little observers as a intensity game-changer. "I consider you'll see a sum latest resurgence when Tesla comes online with a Model S," Paine says. "People have been meddlesome in sexy."
- Oscars 2012