U.S. hybrid electric car sales hit record highs


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Pure electric automobiles are making all of the headlines, however their gasoline-electric hybrid rivals quietly achieved record sales within the United States final yr, trade knowledge confirmed.

While the likes of Tesla Inc and Ford Motor Co pushed for electric automobile sales, Asian automakers boosted hybrid automobile line-ups, as many purchasers nonetheless shun EVs as a consequence of greater costs, restricted driving vary or lack of charging stations.

U.S. sales of hybrid automobile sales jumped 76% to 801,550 automobiles final yr, accounting for five% of U.S. gentle automobile sales, based on knowledge from analytics agency Wards Intelligence.

Sales of EVs additionally jumped 83% to 434,879, however represented a meager 3% of the market.

Toyota Motor Corp posted record hybrid car sales for the U.S. market, serving to the Japanese automaker overtake General Motors Co because the top-selling U.S. automaker.

Toyota boosted sales of its hybrids, plug-ins and gasoline cells by 73% to 583,697, with most of them coming from hybrid. GM offered fewer than 25,000 electric automobiles, because it recalled Bolt EVs as a consequence of battery hearth dangers.

“Hybrids supply a extremely intriguing mixture of gasoline economic system efficiency with out a few of the large drawbacks that electric automobiles current,” Brett Smith, know-how director at Center for Automotive Research, mentioned.

Pure EVs run solely on electrical energy and require charging infrastructure, whereas hybrid EVs mix a traditional combustion engine with an electric propulsion system.

Honda Motor Co, the No. 2 hybrid car vendor within the United States, additionally boosted hybrid sales by 67% in contrast with 2020 to a record 107,060 final yr.

“We hope to extend our hybrid sales of our core merchandise, CR-V and Accord, considerably within the coming years as we put together for battery electric automobiles,” Dave Gardner, govt vp at Honda, instructed Reuters.

Honda, which plans to launch its first EV for the U.S. market in 2024, anticipated the market to take off due to a slew of latest mannequin launches by automakers and coverage assist by the Biden administration.

“It is only a matter of time, however I feel client acceptance, it will take some time to catch as much as,” Gardner mentioned.

Hyundai Motor Co sees hybrids and plug-in hybrids as “enablers” that can assist speed up sales of battery EVs, its international chief working officer, Jose Munoz, mentioned.

“Some of our rivals, they leap instantly into the battery EV solely … We nonetheless see many shoppers which can be hesitant with regards to moving into battery EV solely,” he mentioned.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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