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EVs in the movies: Tesla’s Model S beats the Nissan Leaf into second place

A couple of weeks ago we disapproved of the fact that Ken’s EV of choice, in the global phenomena that is Barbie, was a lumbering great Hummer, but we accepted it as a positive that both he and the titular character had made the switch to emission-free vehicles. 

Now, thanks to new research from Gridserve, we can see that SUVs and off-road vehicles are the second most popular type of EV for filmmakers to include their movies, behind hatchbacks, which are nearly three times more common on the big screen.

This slightly frivolous but undeniably fun piece of research follows an announcement earlier this year in which Netflix said they would increase the presence of EVs in their own shows and films, while also taking steps to enable more sustainable productions.  

Referring to a partnership with General Motors, they said: ‘Over the course of the next year, GM EVs will be seen in select Netflix shows and films, including Love is Blind, Queer Eye and Unstable, which will feature the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, GMC Hummer EV Pickup and Cadillac LYRIQ respectively.’

As Gridserve have used the Internet Movie Cars Database for its research, their results exclude TV shows but are illuminating nonetheless. 

Entering the names of 462 past, present and future EVs (the DeLorean Alpha5 in the latest edition of the Fast & Furious series has yet to be released and nor has Barbie’s Chevrolet Blazer EV SS) into the database’s search box they could track how the silver screen profile of EVs has grown over recent years.

Only three EVs made an appearance in films across the whole of 2010, but that number had grown to 92 in 2022.

The Baker Electric Stanhope was the first EV to hit the big time when it appeared in 1951’s Excuse My Dust. Fame was long overdue as production of the car started as early as 1904.

The Tesla Model S takes the top spot with a total of 75 appearances, followed by the Nissan Leaf (51) and the BMW i3 (49).

In total, Tesla has 176 appearances but the seventh most common is the slightly more obscure Bolloré Bluecar, which has 29 films to its name – mostly in French language films.

The Gridserve research in full

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