If you’re a hardcore cleantech enthusiast, or at the very least a semi-regular Earth2Tech reader, then you’re probably familiar with GE’s commitment to environmentally-friendly innovation.
The newest episode of The GE Show, created for GE by The Barbarian Group, seems a little bit like an effort to show off that commitment, but utilizes a remarkable amount of engaging interactivity to make its point. “We weren’t really interested in doing digital storytelling the same way everyone else does it,” GE Global Director of Marketing and Communications Linda Boff said via phone. “We challenged ourselves to make a web-native show.”
Launched this morning, Electric Vehicles offers a relatively unbranded look at the innovation currently taking place in the field, especially when it comes to developing infrastructure to support all-electric vehicles. When I say “unbranded,” I mean there are pretty much no brands involved; no known electric cars get name-checked; and logos of any kind are kept out of the picture. Even the GE name takes a relative back seat.
That doesn’t keep some of the video segments from having a somewhat bland, infomercial feel, despite efforts to put a human face on the experience of driving an electric car for the first time. Really, the only segment that intrigued me was the one focusing on Yves Behar and his design for a plug-in car charger: the car charger, not by accident, that GE will make commercially available in 2011. Behar is good on camera, and the tech he demonstrates is definitely intriguing to imagine appearing on streets and in homes.
The videos are well-produced but unexciting; it’s the other interactivity which draws you in. The experience begins with an interactive Google map intended to gauge the user’s typical driving mileage and whether an electric car would be right for them, useful for anyone with a regular commute that includes errands and gym visits.
There’s also a driving game that challenges you to run multiple errands in one day while keeping a charge on your car’s battery; I was very very bad at this game due to some clumsy controller issues, but fortunately, hitting other cars or houses didn’t count against my score (though it did give me a bit of an itch to play Grand Theft Auto). The gimmick of the game appears to be that the car’s battery easily handles the requirements of a typical suburban day, working to fight the myth that electric cars require constant charging.
A final infographic offers all sorts of data on the cost of electricity, energy consumption, and vehicle sales, accompanied by a sliding indicator allowing you to see how things change from the year 1980 to 2030 (projected).
To judge The GE Show‘s relative success, Boff’s team at GE is closely tracking user engagement, which for the first installment on hospitals averaged out at a bit over eight minutes per user, along with repeat visitation on a week-by-week basis. “Our hope at GE is that this is a way for people to get a sense of what GE is involved with, and get a broader sense of some pretty important topics,” Boff said.
Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required): Teaching High-Tech Gear New Green Tech Tricks