Visit any Facebook club related to green cars (hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric vehicles) and you may find some interesting trends. The members speak less and less about fuel economy and efficiency, and more and more about performance. Of course the energy efficiency and carbon footprint topics are there, but the hot topics are about performance. Our impression from participating in many of these green car clubs is that buyers are eager to find and buy green vehicles. That gut-instinct has now been proven true thanks to our friends at iSeeCars.com.
Green Vehicles Are Among The Hottest New And Used Models
iSeeCars.com analyzed data gathered from the sale of over 4.4 million new and used cars sold from March through June 2020. Researchers determined the average days a vehicle stays on the dealer lot and then listed those vehicles which are the hottest sellers as determined by the short time they stay on dealer lots. On both the new and used lists, green cars made up 3/10 of the fastest-selling models.
If you noted that timeline you also know that this sales period was unusual, and iSeeCars' CEO Phong Ly wanted to address that right up front, saying, "Many of these fastest-selling vehicles are popular cars that are hard to find for reasons such as the effect of the pandemic on supply chains, they were produced in limited quantities, or that they are new models that aren’t yet abundant in the used car marketplace.” So, to reiterate, this trend is recent and may shift as things return to normal. Or may not. We know from prior research that the Tesla Model 3 was already the hottest-selling used car in America prior to the pandemic. And we also know that the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid was the top-selling green crossover in America before the upheaval. And we know that buyers were searching high and low to find a RAV4 Hybrid.
Gas Prices Make No Difference To Green Vehicle Sales
Let's also observe another fact. Both before and during the recent market changes gas prices are at historic lows when adjusted for the value of the dollar. For over a year, gas prices have been extremely cheap. Yet, the best green vehicles' sales are not being hurt by this. Tesla's sales have never been easy to correlate to fuel prices. And the RAV4 Hybrid took off just as the shift from high gas prices to low began. Forget the myth that people are buying green vehicles strictly to save money at the pump. That is no longer possible to believe.
Hot Green Vehicles Have Class-Leading Performance
Take a glance at the used car sales chart above. Note that every model Tesla builds, the Model 3 sedan, the larger Model S sedan, and the Model X minivan/crossover all are in the top-ten, and the Model 3 is number one. Now look at the other seven vehicles on the list. Not a single one is faster than the equivalently sized and shaped Tesla. Tesla has the fastest, and the fastest-selling models in the used car marketplace.
Over on the new list, the CR-V Hybrid makes an appearance. It was literally just launched during the study period, so we can safely say that helped its days on the lot number be low. But the Chevy Bolt is now many years old, yet still flies off dealer lots. It is quick for its segment and fun to drive. The RAV4 Hybrid is on the list and its charms are too long to list in one story. However, watch for that model to quickly be joined by the newer RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid. Buyers are frantically grabbing any one they can locate. It is not a coincidence that the RAV4 Prime is the fastest crossover in its size and price range.
We recently covered an interview in which the man who is credited by many as helping to bring the Dodge SRT Hellcat to market explained why electrification and performance are now interwoven. Perhaps this study is just one more data point showing that as green vehicles continue to evolve they will be not just the fastest-selling vehicles on dealer lots, but also the fastest.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on the Torque News Facebook Page, and view his credentials at Linkedin
Top of page image courtesy of Toyota media support.