Venerable sketch-comedy show Saturday Night Live has never been short of ideas for fake commercials, and this past Saturday, possibly in response to the hype over the Tesla Model 3, the writers took aim at EVs, as well as some of the stereotypes that surround them.
Host Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who was once a cast member before becoming famous for her role as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld (she now stars on Veep as Vice President Selina Meyer), starred in a fake ad for the Mercedes-Benz AA-Class, a car powered by 9,648 AA batteries placed throughout the vehicle.
There’s other spoofs of electric cars, too. The ad features a dashboard indicator that can tell drivers when batteries are getting ready to die (and of course, it’s overtaxed, with 9,648 batteries to monitor), while the fake Mercedes also sports a quick-release tab that can dump dead batteries en masse. Oh, and in contrast to real EVs, the top speed is listed as only 52 mph.
There are real-life parallels, of course. For one, Mercedes-Benz does make a B-Class EV, and the company has more EVs in the works. Tesla even once built some of the tech that the B-Class used, but as part of a $550 million investment on EV powertrain and battery tech, Mercedes-Benz plans to provide its own tech for the next-gen B-Class.
Even the placement of the thousands of AA batteries, which are typical used to power household electronics, has some (very slight) basis in reality. For example, a Tesla uses over 7,000 li-ion battery cells. Here’s the difference, though: They are made into modules, both liquid cooled and heated, which are placed in the floor.
And of course, the 52-mph top speed is way off of reality. Even the “slowest” EVs have top speeds in the 80- or 90-mph range, which is plenty fast enough for American highway driving. The low top speed may be SNL’s way at poking fun of antiquated EV stereotypes. Either that, or the show’s writers are still buying into those outdated ideas.
Whatever the case, we’re glad the AA-Class is fake – changing the batteries in the TV remote is enough of a pain, so dealing with nearly 10,000 in a rolling vehicle would be a royal headache.