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GM's Full-Page Ad from June 2006

In late June 2006, General Motors ran a full-page ad in several newspapers, touting the "legacy" of the EV1 electric car that they briefly made in the late 1990s. The ad ran in papers ranging from regional powerhouses like the Los Angeles Times to my 70,000-subscriber suburban daily; funny, I don't remember seeing any full-page ads for the car itself in The Daily Breeze while it was actually available for lease! The ad was in response to the release of the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?", which detailed how automakers and other interests had strangled the modern electric-vehicle market in its cradle, focusing mostly on GM and the EV1. The ad doesn't mention the movie, but the Web address at the end forwarded to a blog post defending GM's crushing of the EV1; the former EV1 website URL, gmev.com, also forwarded there at the time. There's a detailed rebuttal on this website.

The ad was fairly simple. The only graphic in it was a GM logo near the bottom; most of the ad consisted of the text transcribed below. Overlaid in larger type was the sentence "For an electric car, the EV1 is certainly making a lot of noise." The following is the main text of the ad, all one font and size with no paragraph breaks:

Its engine was silent. Its legacy is anything but. In 1996, the EV1 took the automobile out of the environmental equation and was the first big breakthrough towards reducing America's dependency on fossil fuels. More than a car, it was the beginning of a movement. The EV1 ignited our mission to reinvent the automobile in the 21st century. HYBRIDS. Just as the EV1 broke the mold, so do GM hybrids. Last year we built America's first hybrid pickup. This year, it's the Saturn VUE Green Line Hybrid, the most affordable hybrid SUV. Next year, our hybrid Chevy Tahoe will improve fuel efficiency for both city and highway driving. And today, in cities across the country, GM hybrid buses save millions of gallons of fuel while cutting emissions by nearly 90%. ALTERNATIVE FUELS. With over 2 million FlexFuel Vehicles on the road today, our leadership is clear. These cars and trucks can help lower greenhouse gases when powered by cleaner running E85 ethanol. And since E85 can be made from corn, this mostly homegrown fuel can also help reduce our dependency on oil. HYDROGEN. EV1 was the start. Hydrogen is the endgame. A clean, renewable fuel source whose only emission is water. And GM is leading the way. Today, several GM hydrogen test fleets are navigating cities around the world. We're on our way in bringing hydrogen vehicles to your neighborhood. We won't stop until we do. New engine technologies. Renewable fuels. More amazing discoveries on the way from GM. All set in motion by the flick of an electric switch. To learn more about the EV1 and all it has inspired, visit onlyGM.com/electric.

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new 24 September 2006, revised 20 January 2007