Plus: how companies can monitor online perceptions of the green credentials of their products
The Nissan Leaf: photo by Tom Rafferty
Which company is currently winning the race to fill our highways and byways with clean green cars?
Car manufacturers are attempting to clean up their act (and clean up the market) when it comes to being seen as green. More and more eco-friendly cars are rolling off production lines to satisfy drivers’ demand for cars which drive down carbon emissions without compromising style and efficiency.
The battle for drivers’ green pounds isn’t just fought on the road – it’s also being fought online. Advanced auditing software can find out the sentiment regarding eco-cars by monitoring conversations on social media sites such as motoring forums, Twitter, blogs and news channels.
Brandwatch recently used social media monitoring to see where conversations about Ford eco cars were taking place – a report which could inform marketing decisions and strategy regarding the forthcoming Ford Focus Electric.
Brandwatch Chart: Conversations about Ford eco cars
The Brandwatch Eco Car report also identified when these conversations were taking place – by finding out the peaks and troughs of conversation ‘volume’ it is possible to identify what events trigger interest in the car.
Brandwatch Graph: When conversations were taking place
Such insights could determine the pecking order in the race to be seen as the greenest car manufacturer.
Here is a look at five of the greenest car manufacturers; these companies’ continued success could depend on how well they engage the people who talk about them online.
When the Nissan LEAF car started to be delivered to UK homes in March 2011, the car’s 109-mile range and 8-hour charging time attracted plenty of interest. Nissan promises that the car’s availability will rocket when production starts in Sunderland in 2013 and when the £25,000 price of the car goes down, it will interesting to see whether more motorists can be tempted into purchasing an electric car.
Mitsubishi’s electric car expertise has had a profound influence on car manufacturing in Europe. Citroen and Peugeot have both clubbed together with the Japanese company to produce electric cars; the iON and the C-Zero respectively. Both these electric cars have a respectable range of 93 miles and a charge time of seven hours.
Toyota seems to have cornered the family hybrid electric car market with its Prius model; the 2012 model of which will go on sale in the UK in March 2012 with a price sticker of £21,350 on its windscreen.
Toyota has four hybrid vehicles in its fleet: the Prius, Auris, Highlander and Camry. There should soon be many more; Toyota’s CEO has revealed the company’s ambition to make a hybrid-electric system available on every vehicle it sells sometime during this decade.
The first smart car raised many eyebrows when it first appeared on the UK roads in 2000; now it is so common that no one blinks an eye to see one weaving through the traffic in city centres. The third generation Smart Fortwo electric drive is coming to a tiny parking space near you from September 2012.
Ford released its Focus Electric five-door hatchback car in America in December 2011 and this super-silent vehicle is expected to cross the pond to Europe by late 2012. Ford is a late arrival at the electric car party – Nissan and General Motors released their first electric passenger cars in 2010. However, the company has indicated that the Electric is not a one-off vehicle and that other Ford green cars will follow in the wake of 2004’s Ford Escape hybrid, 2006’s Mercury Mariner and 2009’s Ford Fusion Hybrid. Watch this space.