Over the years, the Internet has become an invaluable tool for consumers. With the click of a mouse, users can find like-minded populations anxious to share opinions on quality, usage patterns and even their day-to-day activities. Multiple subgroups have emerged on the Internet over the years – over 14 percent of mothers in the U.S. participate in “mommy blogging” (link) and online “beauty gurus” on YouTube, such as Michelle Phan, can average 200,000 views for every video they post.
Another large, vocal group on the Internet is electric vehicle (EV) enthusiasts. Since the first attempt at the mass market electric car, GM’s EV1, next-generation transportation enthusiasts have been vocal with their opinions and voracious about discovering all news and statistics regarding EVs. With the uptick in industry announcements and the availability of more models, such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, more and more EV evangelists are coming out of the woodwork to join the conversation about this growing market sector.
Each vehicle has its own community of users and advocates. Volt Stats is an online community where Chevy Volt drivers disclose how often they shift off battery range into the car’s backup gas tank source. Those who manage to drive their car only on battery power get a higher ranking, motivating drivers to make their driving habits more efficient. PlugInCars.com features one of the most active forums on the Internet, and calls the early-adopting EV enthusiasts to action. “We firmly believe that the first drivers of the new plug-in hybrids and electric cars literally hold the keys—or wireless key fobs—to the future,” says its “About Us” page.
As the creators of PlugInCars.com can testify, these communities do not exist for mere discussion. The users are dedicated to spreading the word about the benefits of EVs and educating the average consumer on the options and infrastructure. A recent viral effort spurred by public charging station maker blink, called “Don’t ICE me,” provides EV users with printable materials they can place on the internal combustion engine (ICE) cars blocking the valuable charging parking spaces. This campaign empowers EV drivers to educate drivers of gas-powered vehicles about EV cars and charging stations.
EVs continue to be a hot topic in the news and online, and these communities will only grow as more users begin to embrace this technology. With a user base this motivated and vocal, it’s only a matter of time until this sector becomes a true consumer force to be reckoned with.