In a time when the desire for eco-friendly, cost-effective transportation is on the rise, the challenges of electric vehicle (EV) costs are becoming increasingly evident. To shed light on this issue, let’s take a closer look at how high EV costs are driving American buyers toward the best hybrid cars. This journey begins in Portland, Maine, with a story that reflects the concerns and choices of many car buyers today. Amber Lombardi, a mobile dental practitioner, embarked on a quest to find a vehicle that could efficiently tow a large trailer for her practice while also offering the convenience of electricity for her onboard equipment. Her choice, a Ford F-150 hybrid, not only met her needs but also opened the door to the broader discussion of how EV costs are influencing consumer decisions.
Hybrids: A Solution to High EV Costs
EV costs have been a concern for many American car buyers, and the search for an affordable, eco-friendly alternative has led to a surprising revival of hybrid vehicles. Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled the Prius more than 25 years ago. It was a revolutionary vehicle with a modest petrol engine and a sizable battery. Environmentally minded consumers soon embraced this technology. Hybrids, on the other hand, lost popularity in recent years as automakers hurried to create completely electric cars, which benefitted from large government subsidies and caught the attention of drivers with a forward-thinking attitude.
Hybrids vs. EVs: The Cost Dilemma
A small gasoline engine and a sizable battery were novel technologies when Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled the Prius more than 25 years ago. This vehicle would go on to become a favorite of the environmental movement. But as automakers rushed to create completely electric vehicles, which benefited from large government subsidies and captivated the imagination of forward-thinking drivers, such hybrids fell out of favor in recent years. Now that electric car customers are being more deterred by high sticker costs and patchy charging infrastructure, hybrids are making a comeback.
According to researcher GlobalData, hybrid vehicle sales in the US have increased by more than twice as much since 2020 and are expected to rise by 35% this year. EV cost is becoming a significant concern for potential electric vehicle buyers, leading them to explore alternatives like hybrids.
Ford’s Response: Making Hybrids More Accessible
Ford is increasing production of its three-year-old F-150 hybrid and decreasing the price by $1,900 to woo some of those consumers. This would bring the price of the vehicle to around where it is with the full-gasoline variant and close to 10% less than the all-electric model it debuted in 2022. Even as it scales down ambitious manufacturing goals for its fully electric cars, Ford expects to triple hybrid sales over the next five years and offer the technology throughout its portfolio.
The Popularity of Plug-In Hybrids
Even while plug-in hybrids, which have a charging station just like a fully electric car, provide more flexibility, the price tag of one of these vehicles can rise by thousands of dollars. But many American consumers are content with less expensive so-called mild or rechargeable hybrids, especially when the cars are tweaked to produce more horsepower—even at the price of fuel efficiency.
According to GlobalData, the number of hybrid vehicles on the market in the US is anticipated to increase to 369 by 2026, more than doubling the 164 vehicles available there in 2020.
Hybrids vs. EVs: Sales Comparison
According to GlobalData, hybrids will dominate 9% of the American auto market in 2023 while full-electric vehicles will hold 8% of the market, with sales of hybrids nearing 1.4 million vehicles this year compared to almost 1.2 million full-electrics. Because of the absence of a charging infrastructure and the greater cost of EVs, even after Tesla Inc. twice reduced pricing this year, American customers have been slower to adopt EVs than European and Chinese consumers. According to researcher Edmunds.com. the average cost of an EV in the US in August was $59,752, compared to $45,567 for vehicles that use petrol.
With car loans currently averaging 7.4%, financing adds about $9,000 in interest over the 68-month life of a $40,000 loan, according to Edmunds. EV cost is a crucial factor for American consumers, and that explains why more of them are turning to hybrids, which are typically priced below a model’s comparable all-electric version.
Ford’s Hybrid Success
Ford has struggled to keep up with demand for the hybrid version of its small Maverick pickup, which starts at $23,400. The Maverick hybrid accounts for nearly 60% of the model’s sales; CEO Farley said that “was far beyond our expectations.”
Ford aimed to eliminate the pricing premium on the 2024 F-150 hybrid when it revealed it on September 12 at the Detroit Auto Show with an updated look and features. Ford now anticipates that sales of the hybrid F-150, which has been the best-selling car in the US for the previous four decades, will make up one-fifth of the truck’s total sales. The business will offer the hybrid F-150 with a starting price of $55,000—the same as a similar gas-fueled model—when manufacturing cranks up, which is two times the current hybrid take rate.
In conclusion, as the high EV cost continues to concern American consumers, hybrids are making a strong comeback. They offer a practical and cost-effective alternative, especially for those who need to tow heavy loads or prioritize affordability. Brands like Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda are embracing this trend by expanding their hybrid offerings, making the best hybrid cars a top choice for many buyers. As the automotive industry evolves, hybrids are proving to be a bridge to a greener future, where electric vehicles may eventually become more accessible to all.
- Are hybrids more affordable than EVs in the USA?
- Yes, hybrids are generally more affordable than fully electric vehicles, making them an attractive choice for many American buyers.
- Why are hybrids gaining popularity in the US?
- Hybrids are gaining popularity due to concerns about the high EV costs and their practicality for specific needs, such as towing heavy loads.
- Which automakers are leading in hybrid sales in the USA?
- Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda are among the major players in the US hybrid market.
- Is the trend towards hybrids limited to the US only?
- No, the hybrid surge is a global phenomenon, with significant growth expected in various regions, including Asia, North America, and Europe.
- How does financing impact the choice between hybrids and EVs?
- With car loans adding substantial interest costs, affordability plays a significant role in the choice between hybrids and EVs in the USA.