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US Hybrids Outperform Electric Vehicles in April

23 June 2021 Tom Libby

Electric vehicles and announcements surrounding them are dominating the headlines, but new analysis of the latest IHS Markit new vehicle registration data in the US indicates vehicles with a hybrid powertrain (both gasoline and electricity) are out-performing EVs, based on several metrics. In April, hybrids accounted for 6.1% of all new vehicles registered, more than double EVs' share of 2.4%. Even more impressive, the share of hybrids in the US market has more than doubled compared to the same time frame in 2020, climbing from 2.3% a year ago; their volume rose more than five-fold from 17,591 a year ago to 92,865 this past April (based on CYTD figures for each year).

This growth in the popularity of hybrids has driven the overall electrification market share (when combining hybrids and EVs) to a record 8.4% in April (approaching the milepost at which electrified vehicles account for one of every ten new vehicles sold in the US). This follows growth of more than 6% in March. Furthermore, April was the seventh consecutive month in which the combined EV and hybrid share surpassed 5%, a threshold not previously reached.

Over half of this rapid hybrid growth (year over year) has been driven by Toyota, where hybrid volume jumped more than six-fold to just over 51,000, led by Sienna, Venza and RAV-4 with additional volume from Highlander, Prius Prime and Prius, in that order.

Honda hybrid deliveries also rose in April, led by a near ten-fold jump in CR-V hybrids and a four-fold increase in Accord hybrid deliveries since the same timeframe last year. Ford, Jeep and Lexus rounded out the top five brands in April 2021 year-over-year hybrid increases.

Geographically, hybrid year-over-year growth in April was strongest in the Midwest (up 215%) and the Southwest (up 210%). Of note, EV growth in the same time period was also highest in the Midwest (up 126%), followed by the Northeast (up 121%).

The demographic profile of the hybrid buyer falls somewhere in between that of the EV buyer and the ICE (internal combustion engine) customer. Based on the analysis of April registrations, the customer age of the hybrid buyer is more similar to that of the gasoline consumer than that of the EV buyer: 46% of hybrid buyers are age 55 or older, while 45% of gasoline buyers fall in this category but just 34% of EV buyers. From an ethnicity perspective, hybrid customers fall in between EV and gasoline buyers: 12% of hybrid buyers are Asian, versus 5% of gasoline customers and 21% of EV buyers.

Hybrid growth can be attributed to strong product offerings available from Toyota, Honda and others. In addition, the hybrid option gives consumers an opportunity to test the idea of an electric powertrain without assuming the perceived risks and reservations toward EVs in the market today.

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