In 2001 Saturn relied on gas and diesel-powered trucks to tow its vehicles from coast to coast for its mobile tours. But a lot has changed since then. Today the vehicles are doing the towing and the company is exploring new methods to reduce its carbon footprint while marketing its way across the country.
For its Meet Saturn tour this summer the General Motors brand created three environmentally friendly displays inside Airstream Basecamp trailers powered entirely by solar panels. Saturn Outlook vehicles which the company boasts has the best fuel economy of any eight-passenger crossover on the road will pull the trailers. Both the Outlook and Basecamp were designed in silver with vibrant sunflowers etched into the metal (in-house the units are affectionately referred to as Sunflower One Two and Three). The energy-conscious vehicle fleet is meant to spotlight the brand’s efforts to be greener while demonstrating the Outlook’s features and capacities.
“Before we were known as being the best dinghy vehicle [a small car pulled from behind a motor home] but this is a change from that ” says Tony Parrottino national sales promotion manager at Saturn. “Now being able to pull our own trailer that’s how the brand has evolved. The tour helps people understand that the brand has changed.”
Inside the Airstream Basecamps consumers can sit down with a product specialist to custom-build a virtual Saturn and learn more about the brand. The displays are run on iMac computers (known for their low environmental-impact characteristics) and low-energy consumption flat-screen LED monitors to help extend the life of the battery cells.
On the outside four Kyocera 130-watt solar panels have been permanently installed on top of the trailers. Solar energy is captured and transferred into a battery bank located along the bottom of the trailer. Typically tours utilize gas or diesel generators to provide power to electronic devices lighting and air conditioners. Based on about six hours of peak sunshine an average of 4 600 watt hours can be banked per day. If there is a period of rain the displays can function on banked power. This also eliminates the need for backup generators. Two additional solar panels installed to resemble potted plants also absorb solar power on the ground while at each stop.
The tour kicked off in April and runs through September. The units are dispatched to activate in the East and West Coasts and the Midwest. They will be making stops at 72 events this summer including local retailers festivals and fairs as well as RV rallies. At large events branded Segways roam the grounds to lure consumers back to Saturn’s footprint (Performance Marketing Group Carmel IN handled). em