On October 4th, an unlikely alliance of public and industry leaders joined forces in an unusual show of unity to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in California. This powerhouse of leaders, representing every major player in the transportation sector, announced the public launch of their organization, Veloz, and their first project, "Electric For All," the largest multi-stakeholder, multi-million dollar public awareness campaign in North America. Veloz also announced major commitments from utilities, Electrify America and the addition of new members including Audi, ChargePoint, Flo, SemaConnect and Webasto.
"The world is moving to electrified transportation, with or without U.S. leadership," said Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board in today's press conference. "California cannot afford to take its foot off the accelerator. Today is Clean Air Day – but you wouldn't know it in many parts of California. Pollution from cars and trucks is choking not just our people and planet, but our economy. But we have an enormous opportunity: Electric car technology is at a tipping point. Veloz – a powerhouse of major players – plans to push it over. That's the power of Veloz, and the power of California. We must continue to lead the U.S. and in exciting new technologies that will change personal mobility, and our lives, forever."
"Veloz is working to radically transform mobility in California and take electrification to a new level," said Veloz executive director Josh Boone. "With our distinct approach, Veloz will inspire Californians to get behind the wheel and into the passenger seat of electric cars."
Fifty percent of Californians know next to nothing about electric cars. Without desire there can be no demand. That's why Veloz, a new nonprofit assembling the best and brightest players in the transportation space, is launching a public awareness campaign as one of its first projects. Veloz's high powered and diverse board and membership of key sector companies, agencies and nonprofits are uniquely able to identify and work to overcome remaining barriers to electrification.
Utilities are a new critical player in the transportation sector, signaling a transformation in the long-standing marriage between the car and oil industries.
Ron Nichols, president of Southern California Edison and a member of the Veloz board announced a group of California private and government utilities are prepared to provide significant funding support in addition to their existing substantial membership commitment for the public awareness campaign as part of a broader group of supporters. "California utilities recognize the vital importance of moving to electrified transportation – for the world, for Californians and for our own bottom lines," commented Nichols. "We are committed to accelerating the transition to clean energy and electric cars, not just through our individual efforts, but collectively through Veloz because of its powerful membership and unique ability to overcome barriers."
Electrify America has announced a commitment of $2 million in matching funds to the Veloz campaign. In addition, the company has licensed Veloz's campaign tagline, "Electric For All," which appears in Electrify America's television and radio national advertising spots called the 'JetStones.'
"Veloz's 'Electric For All' is a powerful message and we wanted to use our resources both directly and through our own campaign to amplify it," said Richard Steinberg, senior director, marketing, communications and Green Cities. "Electric vehicles are a fun-to-drive choice available to the public right now - joining forces with Veloz to increase ZEV public awareness and adoption is a win-win alliance."
"Now that Governor Brown and the legislature have set California on a path to an electric grid powered 100 percent by clean energy, transitioning to electric vehicles makes more sense than ever. One of the most significant remaining barriers to adoption of electric vehicles is public awareness. Veloz is an organization expressly designed to tackle that challenge," said David Hochschild, chair of the Veloz Board. "What the public – even in California – doesn't realize is that the major barriers to electric car adoption are fast disappearing. This is not your grandfather's golf cart. I drive a Bolt. These cars are fun, brilliantly engineered and quick. They accelerate and perform better than any gas car I've ever owned."
"The automotive industry will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50," said Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet marketing. "We believe the future is electric and plan to introduce several new EVs globally over the next few years. The good news is we are overcoming barriers to EV adoption. But public perception still doesn't match the vehicle and ownership reality. That is why the mission of Veloz is so important and why GM is involved in this effort."
The "Electric For All" campaign aims to harness this growing momentum, and spark demand among Californians of all demographics and incomes. "Electric should be the car of choice for all, but especially for communities of color, who often breathe the dirtiest air," said Orson Aguilar, president of The Greenlining Institute. "Low-income communities face a dual burden of unhealthy pollution and high transportation costs, and electric cars are less expensive to own and operate. The Greenlining Institute has long pushed to make electric vehicles accessible and affordable for all, and we look forward to working with Veloz to help make that happen."
On October 15, Veloz will roll out the first phase of "Electric For All" with its cheeky "Opposites Attract" social and digital media campaign [download campaign creatives] using the power of short form video and memes to communicate directly to target audiences. This will be followed by television, featuring an unlikely but illustrious pair of California leaders. The campaign is laser focused on potential car buyers, and delivering dealer leads. The "Electric For All" website, to be launched formally on the same date, will provide best in class data on electric car makes, models and incentives and access to local dealerships.
To produce the "Electric For All" campaign, Veloz tapped the award-winning, California-based, advertising agency Division of Labor. "The 'Electric for All' campaign is a true collaboration between Veloz and all the brands, agencies and partners that helped make this happen. We're really proud of the work and it's just nice to be part of something that can have such a big impact on the state of California," said Josh Denberg, creative director, Division of Labor.
"We are going to track our progress very closely and, if successful, we hope other states and nations will replicate what we've done," said Boone. "The goal is for electric cars to become the new normal. Once Californians know about and experience them, they will fall in love with a better way to drive."