Originally published in the Green Car Journal We know that culture can drive change. Now we are seeing change actually drive, with the growing emergence of energy-efficient hybrid and electric cars in movies and TV -- and on the road.
Just a few years ago, it would have been surprising to see the star of a hit TV show driving an electric car. But when Ashton Kutcher recently made his high-profile debut on the new season of TV’s "Two and a Half Men," millions of viewers tuned in and saw his character drive the Fisker Karma, a luxury electric vehicle.
Since the Prius took hold thanks in large part to cultural influencers driving the car, there was a slow but steady mainstream acceptance by the public of energy-efficient vehicles. It is great to see that momentum is shifting. It was just five years ago that director Chris Paine released his documentary, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" But this year, Paine released his follow-up: "Revenge of the Electric Car."
We played our own role at Global Green making hybrid cars fun and sexy with our "Red Carpet, Green Cars" campaign to shuttle influencers in Hollywood to the Academy Awards.
We all know the struggling economy is responsible for a shift in consumer behavior, and saving money at the gas pump is a huge motivator for so many Americans. Companies are providing a wider range of options and developing technologies that make the vehicles more practical and attainable, whether it is the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, or Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.
While it is fair to say that most viewers of "Two and A Half Men" are unlikely to spend over $100,000 on the luxury eco-vehicle driven by Kutcher’s internet billionaire character, that's not the point. There is a spotlight on it -- and now an electric vehicle is seen as aspirational.
As consumers, we all make choices, and it is good to see more environmentally-friendly choices on screen and on the streets.