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Toyota hybrids outsell EVs 8 million to 1 million to date

Milestones continue to be made even as U.S. green-car sales drop like a rock.

Despite flat or declining green car sales in the U.S. market, Toyota’s hybrid sales reached another landmark in August, topping 8 million vehicles in total sold since the company began producing the Prius and other hybrids. In each of the past three years, Toyota has sold over 1.2 million hybrids, and 2015 is on pace to exceed that with over 700,000 sold YTD. These are just hybrids sold by Toyota and its brands. Other car companies are rumored to have sold a few hybrids as well.

Electric vehicles are also approaching a landmark. Estimates are that electrified vehicles such as the Tesla Model S, Prius Plug-in hybrid, Chevy Volt, and Nissan Leaf will pass the one million mark. Not for the year, but ever. How quaint. EV sales in the U.S. market have declined dramatically in recent months. May, June, and July EV sales in the U.S. were well behind 2014’s sales and July, in particular, was terrible with sales down 20%. Globally, EV sales are doing much better, and sales are up. However, EV sales still don’t add up to anywhere near 1% of total vehicle sales.

Polls show that buyer interest in green-cars in the U.S. has peaked. That could change if new models offer buyers cost savings or performance benefits in addition to lower emissions. In the past two years, Toyota has added new hybrid models including the U.S. market RAV 4 Hybrid and Lexus NX 300h. Toyota offers hybrid versions of all its top-selling cars and crossovers. EV and Hybrid shoppers also have new models to look forward to. The all-new Prius, the first in about seven years will debut in September. The Chevy Bolt, an affordable 200-mile range EV is on schedule to launch in 2016. Tesla often speaks about having an affordable EV in the works but nobody outside of the company has ever seen it, and there is no set launch date.

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Charlotte Omoto (not verified)    September 1, 2015 - 9:06PM

The spin you put on the data is one way to see the data. However, if you plot the % of EV vs PHEV, the % of EV of all plug in vehicles is consistently increasing. This suggests to me that perhaps the polls indicating interest in green vehicles have peaked is a bit premature. Even in my rural area, I have great interest in my Tesla. The increasing number of locations and participants, for example, in National Drive Electric Week suggests that interest in green vehicles are increasing.

John Goreham    September 1, 2015 - 10:16PM

In reply to by Charlotte Omoto (not verified)

Thanks for checking in Charlotte. Thought of you this weekend. Stayed at a B&B in a NH college town that has two EV chargers and one is just for Tesla owners. Sadly, the August EV and hybrid sales numbers are both pretty bad. (For readers' info, Charlotte was kind enough to be interviewed by TN about her Tesla ownership previously). Hopefully the Model X and new Prius being revealed this month will spur some new interest.