How EV Marketing and Nomenclature Is Changing the Way We Identify with Automobiles

Electric vehicles (EVs) have emerged as a disruptive force in the automotive industry, revolutionizing the way we perceive and connect with our cars.

EVs are a disruptive force in the automotive industry in many different ways. One significant way is how EV nomenclature affects how we personally identify with our cars. The unique naming conventions of EVs can create a sense of identity and pride among their owners. Whether it’s the branding, environmental message, or performance, the name of an EV can reflect the values and priorities of the owner and help them feel a stronger connection to their car.

The naming of EV models is changing the way we think about the automobile in a few fundamental ways:

  • Brand identity: Electric vehicle model names often reflect a particular brand’s identity and values, which can help shape consumers’ perceptions of the brand as a whole. For example, the “Tesla Model S” name has become synonymous with luxury, performance, and cutting-edge technology. This can create a sense of exclusivity and pride among EV owners who identify with their brand’s unique naming convention.

  • Technology and innovation: Many electric vehicle model names incorporate technology-related terms or concepts, which can help reinforce the idea that electric vehicles are innovative and cutting-edge. For example, the “Lucid Air” name suggests a connection to aerospace technology and a focus on advanced engineering, while the “Rivian R1T” and “R1S” names use a combination of letters and numbers to suggest a high-tech, futuristic vibe.

  • Environmental consciousness: Many EVs are marketed as environmentally friendly alternatives to gas-powered vehicles, and their naming conventions can reflect this. For instance, the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, and BMW i3 all include references to leaves, bolts, and “i” for “innovative,” respectively. These names can reinforce a sense of pride and identity among EV owners who prioritize sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint.

  • Differentiation: Electric vehicle model names are also helping to differentiate these vehicles from traditional gas-powered cars. By using distinct naming conventions that emphasize electric powertrains, fast charging, and other key features, electric vehicle manufacturers are creating a new category of vehicles that are seen as distinct and separate from traditional cars.

Electric vehicle nomenclature also incorporates a new set of terms emphasizing the vehicle’s electric powertrain and the features that come with it. This reflects the fact that electric vehicles are a fundamentally different type of vehicle than gas-powered cars, and require a different way of thinking about their capabilities and features. This is exemplified through such things as:

  • Battery size and capacity: With electric vehicles, the size and capacity of the battery pack are often used to describe the vehicle’s range and power. For example, the Tesla Model S is available with battery sizes ranging from 75 kWh to 100 kWh, while the Chevrolet Bolt has a 66 kWh battery pack. Tesla uses range categories in order to simplify the information provided to customers and make it easier for them to understand the capabilities of its electric vehicles. Tesla markets its vehicles as mid-range or long range in order to make it easier for customers to compare different Tesla models and to avoid the confusion that can arise from trying to understand the impact of different factors on the range of an EV, such as driving habits, weather conditions, terrain, and other variables.

  • Power output: Instead of horsepower, electric vehicles are often described in terms of their power output in kilowatts (kW). For example, the Tesla Model S has a peak power output of over 600 kW.

  • Charging speed: Another key aspect of electric vehicle nomenclature is charging speed. Instead of simply talking about the size of the gas tank, electric vehicles are often described in terms of how quickly they can be charged. For example, the Porsche Taycan can be charged at a rate of up to 270 kW, allowing it to add over 60 miles of range in just 5 minutes. Tesla markets its charging speeds by highlighting the convenience of its Supercharger network, both of which help to address concerns about range anxiety and make electric vehicle ownership more practical and convenient.

Changing the way we name EV models is helping to reshape our perceptions of the automotive industry by emphasizing different values, technologies, and features. This is part of a larger shift toward a more sustainable, high-tech, and future-focused vision of transportation that is being driven by the growth of electric vehicles.

In many ways, electric vehicle manufacturers are marketing EVs more like iPhones. Here are a few ways in which marketing EVs has become more similar to Silicon Valley than it has in Detroit.

Technological advancements: Both electric vehicles and iPhones are marketed as cutting-edge, high-tech products that represent the future of their respective industries. EV manufacturers emphasize the advanced features of their vehicles, such as fast charging, over-the-air software updates, and advanced driver-assistance systems, much like how Apple emphasizes the latest features of its iPhones. This is reflective in some of the different naming conventions for EV models which use numbering to emphasize the latest iterations of their technology. Using numbers to describe their EV models is a strategy that helps Volkswagen, Kia, and other brands create a clear and consistent naming convention that is easy for customers to understand and remember the features included with each different model.

Brand loyalty: Like Apple, many electric vehicle manufacturers are building a strong brand identity and a loyal customer base. Tesla, for example, has a dedicated following of fans who are passionate about the brand and its products, much like how Apple has a dedicated fan base that eagerly awaits each new iPhone release.

Direct-to-consumer sales: Both electric vehicles and iPhones are sold directly to consumers, bypassing traditional dealership networks. This allows manufacturers to have more control over the sales process and customer experience, and can help create a stronger connection between the brand and the customer.

Product refresh cycles: Like iPhones, electric vehicles are often marketed as products that will receive regular updates and improvements over time. This creates a sense of anticipation and excitement among consumers, who are eager to see what new features and capabilities the next model will offer.

The marketing and naming conventions of electric vehicles are changing what it means to drive a car. This reflects the growing importance of electric vehicles in our lives and the significant role they are likely to play in the future of transportation.