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Fewer Electric Vehicle Ads Will Run During Super Bowl 58

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The first electric vehicle ad to air during the Super Bowl was in 2019, when Audi ran its “Cashew” ad teasing a “thrilling future” in which the brand turns a third of its fleet electric by 2025.

By Super Bowl 2022, the number of EV ads jumped to six—roughly mirroring the growth of the category between 2019 and 2022. Last year, while the ratio of EV ads to gas-powered car ads held steady, there were half as many total auto spots.

In 2024, the slump continues. Just two of the four car ads (that we’re aware of at the time of writing) feature EVs: a BMW spot starring Christopher Walken and a heartfelt Kia ad featuring a young ice skater and her grandfather. Barring a surprise on Sunday, this marks the first dip in EV-featured spots as a percentage of the total auto ads since 2019.

Electric headwinds

That doesn’t come as a shock to analysts, as the industry has faced a series of challenges in the last year.

General Motors, Ford and Audi lowered EV production targets and delayed investments, citing slower-than-expected demand. New requirements within the Inflation Reduction Act that cars undergo final assembly in North America mean that the EV tax credit applies to a smaller number of currently available vehicles and has complicated the rebate system. Even Tesla, the category leader, is bracing for layoffs.

“The market share of electric cars will continue to grow, but it’s going to grow at a slower rate than in previous years,” said Brian Moody, executive editor at Cox Automotive, parent company of Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. “People are still interested in electric cars. In fact, in 2023, more than 1 million new electric vehicles were sold—the first time we’ve ever hit that number.”

Just under 2% of cars sold in the U.S. were electric in 2019. While it had already been over a decade since Tesla sold its first Roadster EV in 2008, the Elon Musk-led company would triple its new car deliveries over the next three years—thanks in large part to the popularity of the Model 3. By 2023, EV sales reached 7.6% of all cars sold in the U.S., and they’re predicted to top 10% in 2024.

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