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American Buyers Turning Increasingly to Hybrid Vehicles

Badging on the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV | Photo: D.Boshouwers
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Daniel Rufiange
U.S. consumers may have been slower to embrace hybrid technology, but they’re doing so now.

The market for electrified vehicles is experiencing ups and downs, which is to be expected as the transition enters its next phase. And those ups and downs vary quite a bit depending on the region.

While in some markets we’re seeing a slowdown in the anticipated growth in sales of BEVs, or all-electric vehicles, in others, records are being broken. Sales data for Quebec released last week show that new all-electric vehicles now account for more than 25 percent of new-vehicle sales.

Figures released this week for the U.S. show that demand is growing fastest for hybrid models. In fact, a new record for sales of hybrids was set in the first quarter of this year.

Automotive News reports on a S&P Global Mobility study showing that 42 percent of hybrid-vehicles owners who returned to the market in the first quarter bought another hybrid vehicle, either conventional or plug-in. This is the seventh consecutive quarter in which hybrid loyalty has increased.

A Kia Sorento PHEV, charging up
A Kia Sorento PHEV, charging up | Photo: Kia

According to Cox Automotive, sales of conventional hybrid models more than doubled during the quarter compared with the previous year. Sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles rose by 59 percent. Together, they represent around 11 percent of light vehicle sales, which is a record.

The share of all-electric vehicle sales remained relatively stable at 7.2 percent in the first quarter, compared with 7.3 percent for the same period in 2023, again according to Cox estimates.

In the U.S. market, the lower cost of hybrid vehicles is playing a significant part in shaping the trend, according to Thomas Libby, Associate Director of Industry Analysis and Loyalty Solutions at S&P (Standard and Poor's). Many hybrid vehicles sell for under $30,000 USD, while the average transaction price for an all-electric vehicle is almost twice as high, reaching $57,000 USD in May, according to Cox Automotive.

It's worth noting that not all electric vehicles qualify for the $7,500 rebate in the U.S. To qualify for the first $3750 of that rebate, part of a vehicle's battery components must be produced or assembled in North America. To qualify for the second part, some of the critical minerals used in the battery must be mined or processed in the U.S. or in a partner country of the U.S. Free Trade Agreement, or they must have been manufactured from recycled materials in North America.

There's also the question of the charging infrastructure network in our southern neighbors, which is less developed in some places.

From a larger perspective, here’s one other trend the current American sales data confirms: consumers are opting for electrified vehicles in greater numbers than ever before.

The Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid
The Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid | Photo: Toyota
Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists