A new Lexus advertisement has created quite a stir — and anger — among electric vehicle enthusiasts. According toInternational Business Times, people believe the new ad “stokes fear” in the hearts of people who are considering buying an electric car.
The ad features an image of an electric car charging station with the caption “Reserved for someone with four hours to kill,” suggesting that charging an electric battery takes a long time, especially in comparison to the regenerative braking capabilities of hybrid cars.
Lexus, which is owned by Japanese auto maker Toyota, seems to imply that recharging electric cars is prohibitively inconvenient, perhaps in an effort to promote the image of their own hybrid vehicle technology.
Something has been stagnating the sales of hybrid and electric cars. Though auto sales in general are higher than ever since the Great Recession, electric and hybrid sales are not quite keeping up.
Why? According to Time magazine, relatively low and stable gas prices and loss of the novelty feel in the marketplace, both likely contribute to waning sales.
But Lexus’s scare tactics and declining numbers don’t mean that Americans aren’t buying them at all. Hybrid Carsreports that Americans made their 250,000th plug-in vehicle purchase last month. This number includes both battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids (37,820 and 40,789, respectively).
Aside from unrivaled fuel economy and a more environmentally friendly option, hybrid and electric cars offer another attractive incentive. In the United States, purchasing a hybrid vehicle can have tax incentives worth up to $3,400, and according to Time, federal tax credits for electric vehicle purchases can potentially amount to $7,500.
So while Lexus implements fear-inducing ads, and prices at the pump aren’t putting Americans into hybrid vehicles as quickly as one would think, they’re still buying them even if the rate isn’t in tune with the rate of traditional vehicles — maybe partly due to those sweet tax incentives.