• Mar 7th 2008 at 8:26PM
  • 35
Chevy has two new TV ads for its Tahoe hybrid. First a little background. The Chevy Tahoe hybrid won Green Car Journal's Green Car of the Year award last year. A full-size SUV winning a green car award supplied much comedic fodder for Top Gear (see first video below the fold). Okay, the first new Tahoe hybrid ad (see second video below the fold) begins with a riddle: Which is heaver, a hundred pounds of bricks or a hundred pounds of feathers? If you figured out they are the same weight, then according the ad, you are just as smart as the Chevy Tahoe hybrid, winner of Green Car of the Year award.

The second ad (see third video below the fold) begins with children wearing paper car costumes. The small paper cars are uncomfortable and have no room for their "stuff." Just around the corner, however, is a giant paper SUV and when the children see it, they are ecstatic. They throw off their small paper cars and run to the paper SUV. The teacher character in the commercial explains the paper SUV has the same fuel economy of small cars (like the Camry), room for your friends and most importantly, room for all that "stuff" the children are carrying around for some reason. "I guess they like it" the commercial's teacher character concludes.

I have to admit, I really like these ads. I think they're the best hybrid ads out there. I might not agree with the message that hybrid SUVs are green but at least these ads have a message. Recent hybrid ads from GM and Lexus are too vague for my taste. These Chevy actually persuade with facts about the Tahoe's fuel efficiency or the CotY award. Besides, SUVs are the only vehicles large enough to carry all my "stuff."

[Source: YouTube]


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  • 35 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      But I can't get my wife and I plus our 3 kids with their car seats and the groceries from Costco into a Prius. Or a Camry even. Or actually, even a Tahoe. I've got a Suburban for this and it's just right for the purpose. I hoping for a hybrid Suburban though a diesel that gets good mileage would be just fine.

      I'm not sure why everyone here is so intent on dismissing a vehicle that has a real chance of changing how much fossil fuel people consume. I'm not interested in a tiny car to replace my Suburban and I don't know why people keep making those comparisons.

      For city dwellers that have tiny families and hire everything out your Prius will do fine. For those of us in the suburbs (I'm closer to work this way too) with a sizable family and house and a desire to pull, haul and generally do it ourselves a big vehicle is the right tool for the right job.

      I read this blog because I'd like to save a little on fuel costs and stop sending oil profits to places that really don't like us. It's disappointing to see vehicles that might actually sell in quantity and make a real dent in that get slammed. The delta in fuel burned between a Corolla and a Prius vs a Tahoe and Tahoe Hybrid make the latter a more compelling change.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I doubt that's got anything to do with it. You can make small cars as 'fashionable' as you want to make them. SMART have technical features which are poor at best, but up to 2005 were selling very well. Minis are very expensive for what they are, and are currently selling very well. The European Car of The Year, the FIAT 500 is outselling by far its production capacity.

      I would say this relates more to environmental regulations, or lack thereof. I suspect that in the US there are other interests which prevent any real environmental measures from setting in. We have our own US in Europe, in the shape of Germany. German cars (small, compact or large) on average pollute more than their French or Italian counterparts. This, combined with the larger number of large models have meant that Germany is unwilling to put any real environmental measures in place. Spain, France, UK and Italy all have tax/rebate systems for new cars and/or yearly registration charges based on CO2, while there is no sign of this happening in Germany. Cities like London, Stockholm and Milan now have in place a system for charging drivers with high-emission vehicles. Several German cities are now actually banning EURO5 compacts without a DPF while allowing Cayennes or Touaregs with DPFs, despite having much worse emissions. The reason Germany has such a different system in place is more than a little obvious. The EU published an official report in November of last year showing that the German manufacturers pollute much more than their French or Italian counterparts.

      I have a proposal that should make everybody happy. I think we should swap Germany and California between the EU and US! what an eloquent solution, maybe a little difficult to put into effect, but brilliant all the same !.....
      • 7 Years Ago
      #25:

      No, I mean physically things don't fit. I also own a Camry so we can use that as one example. Car seats are required for children under 8 in this state, a *minimum* of boosters for the older ones. It's not possible to get more than 2 of those seats in the back seat of the Camry. They physically do not fit.

      If they did, or if I didn't have the older kid, the stroller for the younger two occupies the majority of the trunk anyway leaving not enough room to get any significant amount of groceries home.

      Another example - my mother in laws minivan. Again, only 2 seats fit in the second row. Interestingly the owners manual warns only to put two seats in the row anyway though it doesn't state why.

      Same situation with the Tahoe - I need to press the third row into service and with the third row up there is not enough room behind the seat to fit the stroller for the younger kids.

      This was our determining factor for choosing the Suburban over the Tahoe.

      We have friends that had a Lexus SUV and had to switch to a bigger vehicle at 3 kids because of the same problem - they couldn't get the big, plastic, required by law car seats to fit 3 to a row.

      I'm looking for something that does what I want that will save me a bit on fuel costs if I can find it. I'd prefer it to be a hybrid Suburban as for all things other than fuel costs it's exactly what I want. Fits the family and gets us up the hill (1100' ft above sea level in Seattle gets more snow than you'd think in the winter) in the winter.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Karl-Uwe:
      In the US, the Yaris is considered a solid little car that is bought by people who can't afford to buy something better (meaning bigger). This makes it difficult to offer good small cars in the US. This is why our Focus is a different vehicle than the European one, for example. The European one is a better vehicle, and thus costs more. In the US, since the only people who buy a small vehicle like the Focus are people who can't afford a bigger one, raising the price of the Focus will kill sales, so they sell a cheaper Focus here.

      Mattias:
      A large portion of the people who buy these large SUVs can afford to buy anything they want, even at the prices you mention. They can afford expensive gas too.

      A lot of people are trying to tie what people should want to what they do want. Hey, I've done it too, look at the Audi R8 V12 TDi article and see what I said there. But the reality is that at this moment, there still exist a few people in the world who either need a huge SUV and there's a lot more who don't need it, but will buy it anyway. If these people buy this instead of a comparable vehicle, the amount of fuel saved will be enormous and the reduction in environmental impact is enormous.

      We need to attack the problem of emissions and oil consumption from many many angles. A vehicle like this is part of that attack. I hope to see a lot more solutions in the future, ones that make more sense for the average person.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There are several European countries now where ads that claim something is green which isn't green at all will land you in a whole heap of trouble....

      Things like this ad I believe show just how wider the rift is getting between the two mindsets....This isn't just such a blatant example of this, but involves convincing children as well....
      • 7 Years Ago
      I still call this 'Greenwashing'.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sounds more like they're trying to convince kids that they need the largest vehicle possible. Isn't that the attitude that got us into the current mess?
      • 7 Years Ago
      It is amusing that someone has to upgrade from a Lexus SUV to something larger in order to accomodate that third 40Lb infant in a booster seat. Seems the problem is with the seat manufacturers. Most cars today can seat three adults in back. I would see no reason why a triple booster seat could not utilise the combined tethering points for two individual seats. This seems a problem that marketing should be addressing on behalf of those more prodigous members of our society.
      A quick change of topic to " Which is heavier, a hundred pounds of bricks or a hundred pounds of feathers? " as was mentioned in the opening paragraph.
      Now people who know me would say this sort of question is just my speed. The answer to the question here is. Envelope Please. And the answer is. They are the same. And you are probably saying words to the effect 'No fajitas, Einstein'
      Hold on a minute. Now there are those who would say that a hundred pounds of bricks are more heavier than a hundred pounds of feathers. Those would be the people who just had a hundred pounds of bricks dropped on them. So we see the answer could be qualified by a particular type of unhappy life experience. Of course what something weighs is dependent on gravitational force which is not constant. It varies with geographical location and from time to time. We all know that it is particularly strong under our beds around 7 a.m - as if we needed any more proof of why it's so hard to get up in the morning.
      Seriously, on the moon 35 yrs ago Neil Armstrong dropped a feather and hammer to show that Galileo's prediction of the force of gravity is the same for everything in vaccuo. However if he had taken a weighing balance and that hundred pounds of bricks and feathers with him he would have found that on the moon the same hundred pounds of feathers is in fact heavier than the hundred pounds of bricks because they have the greater mass. In other words back on earth although they weighed the same they had different masses, how could this be ?
      Many years ago at school we asked for easier prep for that weekend. So the maths master says 'So you want me to select problems like what's heavier a pound of feathers or a pound of ...... AND I had to stick up my hand and disagree. His mock admiration at my new level of imbecility was circumspect to say the least. I pointed out that in earth's atmosphere the lower unit density of feathers would give more bouyancy on a weighing balance to them, so you'd need to use more, hence more mass. The story must have got legs, at the next physics class there was a bell jar and vacuum pump setup. The physics master looking towards me said "Today I am going to start with this little demo because apparently someone amongst us had to open their big yap over in so 'n so's class the other day" or words to that effect. The pump motor was then started...
      • 7 Years Ago
      @Furion

      " feathers might have more buoyancy, but that
      doesn't factor into weight."

      I agree with you if you are measuring mass with a spring balance in a vaccuum. You would be measuring the effect of pure gravity.

      But the human experience is to do this in the atmosphere where the volume of feathers has to displace a similar volume of air. And air has weight. The new spring balance reading must reflect this.

      If someone wants to jump in, feel free.

      I was just adding some levity to Lascelles' statement, same as I did when it came up in that class 45 yrs ago. It got people thinking.

      My intent is not to pick a fight on something of an esoteric nature. Rather my stance here is to learn more about series hybrid cars. I would rather be discussing that sooner or later some automotive designer is going to realise that there may be a niche for a small sedan that runs off a 500cc single cylinder. A vehicle that doesn't include an expensive 'boutique' battery. Is simple to understand, has no very expensive parts and will not incur the hybrid premium. The use of high rpms from both the generator and motor in this vehicle will yield excellent performance due to the consequent smaller size of these components and therefore lower vehicle weight. It can also be factored in that since the engine is completely decoupled from the wheels it will be available to deliver its full power continuously and almost instantly. Older transmission schemes such as 6/7 speed DSGs cannot do this and have the engine always climbing in speed while working half way down on the power curve. Even the Prius doesn't allow full power from its engine until over 51mph, which is rather late in the driving cycle, in my opinion, but an inherent flaw of the HSD system it uses. I've noticed no-one has called out Toyota on this board for this shortcoming of their system so far to my knowledge, but the efficacy of corn ethanol always raises hackles. Or anything that GM does, don't we like that ? that's our favorite isn't it ? !

      Though yet to be announced on anyone's drawing board so far I am hopeful that Honda's new hybrid may be a series version next time as they need a hedge against the coming diesel option meeting a cool reception.
      OK now start your engines. Regarding Chevy TV commercials, when you are the advertising agency for a company which has only slightly more product variety than Cerberus then you might fall into what George C has said about advertising. You have to stand in awe, at the red white and blue, home grown, but nonetheless great steaming pile of BS that has to be generated to move that iron.
      T2
      • 7 Years Ago
      I never needed a tank to carry all my "stuff".........
      • 7 Years Ago
      " It's 50% more efficient than the vehicle it replaces. It's green."

      Or in this case 50% better than "awful" fuel efficiency is merely pitiful. Talk to me when you can make something the size of a VW Passat wagon - yes it is a "real" family vehicle - get 50 real world mpg:

      http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?p=268702

      The reason you can't use the "green" label in some places in europe is b/c no ICE vehicle can boast zero emissions across the board. There are those that emit less than others but there is nothing out there that has zero impact. Hey they have high standards over there and they don't have a Madison Ave. and the Big 2.5 to cater to so maybe that's why they can be more objective in these matters.
      • 7 Years Ago
      #23: My neighbour just bought a Opel Vivaro for that purpose. I guess he has even more space and it's easier to put the groceries into the lower luggage space of the Vivaro.

      BTW: He averages higher than 31mpg (US).
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