Renault may have discovered the secret to making electric vehicles more palatable for the masses: Stick them in video games. The automaker's Twizy Z.E. concept vehicle isn't going on sale in Europe until next year, but Sims players can soon download the car as part of the upcoming Electric Vehicle Pack, a free add-on that also includes solar panels and windmills—all of which cut down on weekly virtual household bills.
Why put branded EVs in a best-selling game? Stephen Norman, SVP, Global Marketing for the Renault Group, explained in a press release:
"Electric vehicles are going to appeal to younger, more socially conscious customers and especially early adopters. This is the heartland of The Sims 3 community and it thus provides a great innovative way to build the Renault Brand just ahead of the Renault range of affordable electric vehicles themselves."
By inserting itself in a game played by kids and game-savvy adults alike, Renault can get a head start on preaching the EV revolution to future customers. It's a clever move, and one that could subconsciously put the company in the forefront of gamers' minds when they think about EVs—much the way Toyota is now the go-to brand for hybrids.
Europeans can pick up a life-size version of the Twizy two-seater when it goes on sale in 2011.