As Tesla Inc and Ford Motor Co pushed for electric vehicle sales, Asian automakers have increased hybrid vehicle lines as many customers still shy away from electric vehicles due to higher prices, limited range, or more. lack of charging stations.
Sales of hybrid vehicles in the United States jumped 76% to 801,550 vehicles last year, accounting for 5% of light-duty vehicle sales in the United States, according to data from analysis firm Wards Intelligence.
Sales of electric vehicles also jumped 83% to 434,879, but accounted for a meager 3% of the market.
Toyota Motor Corp has achieved record sales of hybrid cars in the US market, helping the Japanese automaker to overtake General Motors Co as the best-selling US automaker.
Toyota increased sales of its hybrids, plug-ins and fuel cells by 73% to 583,697, most of them from hybrids. GM has sold less than 25,000 electric vehicles because it recalled the Bolt EVs due to the risk of battery fires.
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“Hybrids offer a really intriguing blend of fuel-saving performance without some of the huge drawbacks of electric vehicles,” said Brett Smith, director of technology at the Center for Automotive Research.
Pure electric vehicles run on electricity only and require charging infrastructure, while hybrid electric vehicles combine a conventional combustion engine with an electric propulsion system.
Honda Motor Co, the second-largest seller of hybrid cars in the United States, also increased hybrid sales by 67% from 2020 to a record 107,060 last year.
“We hope to significantly increase our hybrid sales of our flagship products, CR-V and Accord, in the coming years as we prepare for battery-electric vehicles,” Dave Gardner, executive vice president of Honda, told Reuters. .
Honda, which plans to launch its first electric vehicle for the U.S. market in 2024, expects the market to take off thanks to a slew of new model launches by automakers and political support from the Biden administration.
“It’s only a matter of time, but I think consumer acceptance is going to take some time to catch up,” Gardner said.
Hyundai Motor Co sees hybrids and plug-in hybrids as “catalysts” that will help accelerate sales of battery-electric vehicles, said its global COO, Jose Munoz.
“Some of our competitors are jumping right into the battery-only EV… We still see a lot of consumers reluctant to go into the battery-only EV,” he said.