US Registers Record Sales of Hybrid EVs

Battery electric vehicles (“BEVs”) are all the rage right now. While electric vehicles (“EVs”) may not be filling up American roads just yet, most automakers have plans to electrify their lineups, and at least 23% of Americans are considering buying an electric car as their next vehicle. With the Unites States looking to cut its carbon emissions in a bid to arrest climate change, battery-electric cars are poised to take over our roads. They do not use fossil fuels and produce zero emissions at the tailpipe, making them perfect for a carbon-neutral economy.

But while everyone has had their eyes trained on BEVs, hybrid electric vehicle sales have been steadily rising. Although electric vehicles have the major benefit of producing zero emissions, they tend to have high upfront costs. Furthermore, limited public charging infrastructure in the country has heightened range anxiety. Thanks to these factors, EV adoption has been slow, with only high-earning individuals or those with access to electric subsidies and space for private charging have been able to ditch their old fossil fuel cars for electric ones.

Fortunately, hybrids present a nice middle ground; they are much more affordable than battery-electric cars and don’t require a significant learning curve to use. Over the course of 2021, Asian automakers developed hybrids for the American market as demand for vehicles with reduced carbon emissions increased. This led to a 76% jump in hybrid EV sales, with Americans buying a whopping 805,550 hybrids in 2021. Data from analytics company Wards Intelligence shows that this accounted for 5% of light vehicle sales in the U.S.

On the other hand, battery electric vehicle sales increased by 83% to 434,879 EVs for a total of just 3% of the car market. Toyota enjoyed record hybrid sales in 2021, selling so many cars in the American market that it surpassed General Motors as the top-selling carmaker in the country. Toyota sales jumped by 73% to 583,697 vehicles, and most of them were hybrid. Meanwhile, General Motors sold less than 25,000 EVs as it had to recall the Chevy Bolt due to battery fire issues.

According to Brent Smith, the technology director at the Center for Automotive Research, hybrid electric vehicles offer some of the “fuel economy performance” as battery electric vehicles without some of the disadvantages that come with owning an EV. Hybrids can run on both fossil fuels and electricity, giving them much more utility and significantly increasing their range. This makes them much more attractive to consumers compared to fully electric cars, but fully electric vehicles such as those made by Workhorse Group Inc. (NASDAQ: WKHS) will proliferate as the charging infrastructure improves.

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