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2015 BMW i3 SuperBowl Ad Turned Many Eyes to EVs

BMW i3, an electric vehicle that everyone can understand.
BMW i3, an electric vehicle that everyone can understand.

BMW i3’s advert was on everyone’s TV screens this SuperBowl, which may mean a lot to the electric car industry.

No matter what the rest of the world says, “American” football gets the most views in the United States, which made it the perfect venue for a “newfangled idea,” the electric vehicle.

Last year, the FIAA World Cup, which Americans call “soccer,” drew 17.3 million American viewers. Super Bowl LXVIII, on the other hand, garnered 110 million viewers. This year, Super Bowl LXIX broke that record, 114.4 million people watching the game. Besides the game itself, and the halftime show, television viewers are treated to some of the most interesting advertisements. Companies are willing to pay the $4.5 million fee for a single 30-second spot during America’s most-watched television event, the extended-range electric vehicle BMW i3 taking one of these, in quite an amusing manner…


Back in 1992, I built my first computer. In 1994, I was surfing TelnetII text-based chatrooms, and the most interesting thing you could find wasn’t even a cute kitten picture, but a DOOM Beavis & Butthead game patch. In 1994, no one knew what “the internet” would turn into, as so such “newfangled idea” had ever changed our lives so completely. The Today Show, on NBC, struggled with the basic email address concept, waxing philosophical on the meaning of the “@” symbol (• see note). Fast-forward two decades, and another “newfangled idea” deserves our attention, the electric vehicle, specifically.

Electric vehicles, even those with range extenders, such as the BMW i3, are a “newfangled idea” that is worth getting used to. Just over one billion vehicles on the road generate about one third of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions, thanks to a centuries-old technology, the internal combustion engine. For the year 2015, electric vehicles may be using relatively new technology, but they’re reducing carbon dioxide emissions on the grand scale. In spite of a couple of small limitations, electric vehicles are really worth the effort to understand.

• The origin of the “@” is probably lost to the annals of history. Many call it the “at sign,” as in 4 lb apples “at” $3 per pound or bnjroo “at” gmail.com, but others call it:

  • apestaart – Dutch for “monkey’s tail”
  • snabel – Danish for “elephant’s trunk”
  • kissanhnta – Finnish for “cat’s tail”
  • klammeraffe – German for “hanging monkey”
  • kukac – Hungarian for “worm”
  • dalphaengi – Korean for “snail”
  • grisehale – Norwegian for “pig’s tail”
  • sobachka – Russian for “little dog”

[editor’s note:] Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” is the best choice for a BMW i3 ad – produced in a wind-powered factory, that is.

update: Here’s a proper BMW i3 review by Autocar UK:

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