In May 2011, Nissan and Renault took the idea of gas-powered everything and ran with it in a moderately funny commercial for the Leaf EV that poked fun at the idea of using gasoline to power our everyday electronic devices. Immediately afterward, General Motors had an unofficial reply (a snide Tweet) that made fun of Nissan for ignoring the benefits of gasoline in the "tow trucks they need and rental cars they recommend as backup to their product."

Now, over two years later, we have another response of sorts in a new 30-second commercial for the Chevy Volt called "Backup Power." This time, instead of a gasoline power generator being the dirty smoke machine in the bathroom, it's a smile-inducing lifesaver. It's almost as if the two ads intentionally highlight - in easy-to-digest, 30-second fashion - the different benefits of the two powertrains. Interesting. You can see both commercials down below.





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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      methos1999
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Volt would be a better fit for me, but the Leaf commercial is definitely more entertaining - especially with the gas powered dentist drill LOL.
      Anderlan
      • 1 Year Ago
      I never noticed the Volt gassing up in that LEAF ad before now.
        Grendal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Anderlan
        Yeah. That a bit of a unnecessary direct attack. There are plenty of gas cars they could have taken a shot at. The Volt's ad wasn't so blatantly obvious.
      Jason
      • 1 Year Ago
      Most days my volts electric range covers me, but living in the midwest with everything spread out, on weekends an all electric would never do. Not to mention electric cars dirty little secret that winter conditions mutilates driving range, and so now your 80 miles of range on a good day can be just above half that if you don't want to be a ice pop when you arrive. Battery stored electricity is just a poor replacement for the BTU content of a gallon of gas, which the volt can take advantage of in the extreme colds and extend the electrics range. I think that's why I've lost count of the number of volts around here, but only seen 2 full electric vehicles.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jason
        I haven't heard of any Leaf owners say they lose "just above half " on a cold day. Maybe the Volt EV range takes a serious hit in the cold, because the computer wants to spare the battery more stress, knowing it has a gasoline backup.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jason
        It's true of course that cabin heating can have a big impact on energy usage. That's not a secret, dirty or otherwise. But your numbers and conclusions are off. On a "good day" on low speed roads a Leaf can go more like 125 miles (I speak from personal experience). On highways it would probably be more like 100 miles. In the winter I doubt it would ever drop below 60. Unless of course you have to have the car above room temperature while not moving for half an hour when it's -30 out. One should also compare against newer cars with heat pumps, rather than for example the first generation Leaf which just uses a resistive heater (bad idea). It's just a question of current limits of technology. This reason for requiring all the paraphernalia to burn gasoline will go away once a battery the size of a Tesla's becomes more affordable. Speaking of which, the notion that "an all electric would never do" is questionable, even without Tesla Superchargers in your area. With them, that attitude has merit only if stopping for twenty minutes every three hours counts as "will never do".
      vazzedup
      • 1 Year Ago
      Love them both, and I really like how the Nissan ad makes you think differently about a car. For years its had a special place, but increasingly its become an appliance to get from A-B. So as an appliance and with our increasing urban lifestyles it makes sense to run on electricity.
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      They are both good ads. But I found the Leaf one a bit... absurd. 90% of the products that they show - copiers, computers, coffee makers - are plugged in to a national power grid. And many corporate buildings do actually have back up diesel generators. Also, many battery based products like the iPod on the runner or the cell phone, are designed to work for a set period of time and then must be recharged. Which is how the Leaf was designed. The truth is, many people complain about how their cell phones always run out of juice too soon. So the Leaf will be a fit for some people, but not all. Same with the Volt.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        "90% of the products that they show - copiers, computers, coffee makers - are plugged in to a national power grid." Um, yeah, of course. That's the reality - electrical power is ubiquitous, relatively cheap, and clean. Burning fossil fuels indoors is not allowed because the emissions are toxic. Why we accept polluting the air we breathe just because most of the pollution dissipates is beyond me.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        corporate buildings have diesel backup power for sure... but they don't provide for the whole building, just critical systems. During an outage, most people will be sent home. Servers, and security systems will stay running for a bit.
      Ziv
      • 1 Year Ago
      I like both ads but I simply can not imagine having just 80 miles of range and no backup genset. For me, around 200 miles of AER would be a minimum for a full utility car, and a bit of a cushion, say 240 miles, would be even better. That is why the Volt works so much better for me.
        ScubaChris
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ziv
        I thought the same for a long time, especially with all the anti-EV propaganda flying around. Now I drive a Leaf and I can honestly say it suits my needs perfectly without a hint of range anxiety. Not only that but I'm covering almost 2X the mileage I used to drive in my previous ICE car because I don't have to worry about the cost of fuel. I live in the UK which is renowned for crazy fuel prices.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      And they BOTH STOLE THE IDEA from Plug-In America. But I'm sure Plug-In America doesn't mind. Gas-powered cellphone ad from 2010: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=767XHA5KQKY
      ElectricAvenue
      • 1 Year Ago
      To be comparable, the Volt ad should have a gasoline engine driving a generator to charge the battery of the iPhone, and a gasoline engine driving a generator to charge the battery of the tablet computer. The exhaust from these would of course go into the cabin for the occupants to breathe. The Volt ad starts with "wouldn't it be great if all devices had backup power?" and ends with both the iPhone and tablet computer recharged magically. Of course, with a Volt or a Leaf, you could easily plug the phone or tablet computer in to the car to charge it. The draw is negligible compared to the size of the car battery.
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