Jan 12

America’s Plug-in Car Sales Were Their Best Ever in 2016

 

Chev_Volt-e1484180599291

For the sixth full year since the U.S. introduction of major-manufacturer plug-in electrified vehicles, sales in 2016 hit new highs and a few records were set.

On the face of it, one might expect that as a matter of course for a still-budding market, but actually 2015 saw declines in the ever-changing electrified vehicle space, not least being from decreased gas prices.

Cheap gas has more adversely affected non-plug-in hybrids however, which have had a 3.19 percent market share in 2013 whittled to 1.99 percent last year – and meanwhile plug-ins are up.

Plug-In Progress

Top on the roster of 2016 achievements is a total 157,181 plug-in electrified vehicle (PEV) sales. An all-time high, this was up 37.6 percent over 114,248 sales in 2015, and 27.4-percent more than 2014’s 123,347 sales.

The total for 2014 had been the previous high water mark, so 157,181 is a healthy number adding to a cumulative U.S. total of 570,187 PEVs since 2008.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and wife Janet with a new Chevy Bolt which just went on sale in December with 579 delivered in Oregon and California, and national roll-out happening this year.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and wife Janet with a new Chevy Bolt which just went on sale in December with 579 delivered in Oregon and California, and national roll-out happening this year.

Overall December contributed quite a bit to the year’s strong final results.

In fact, December saw an all-time best 23,288 PEV sales – up from September 2016’s former record of 16,069.

This in turn helped PEV market share rise for the year to 0.90 percent – consisting of 0.48 percent battery electrics, and 0.42 percent plug-in hybrids.

2017 Detroit Auto Show Green Car Roundup

That’s a nice uptick over 2015, in which PEV market share was just 0.66 percent and in 2014 it was 0.75 percent.

As one might also guess, December PEV market share hit a new record last month – 1.39 percent comprised of 0.61 percent battery electrics and 0.78 percent plug-in hybrids. This topped the prior-record month of September 2016 which saw 1.12 percent PEV market share.

Best Sellers

The Tesla Model S (pictured top) was the leading PEV for the second year in a row with 29,156 units delivered – an estimated 5,300 coming just in December.

This in turn beat the revised Chevy Volt’s year-end push of a record 3,691 sales in December leading to 24,739 total sales.

tesla-2016-sales-668x409

Third down was the Tesla Model X, with 18,028 sales – 3,300 estimated in December, and again showing Tesla’s strength given the price of its vehicles is so much higher than the other models in the top five all priced below $40,000.

Speaking of which, fourth place was the Ford Fusion Energi, with 15,938 sales, and Nissan Leaf, with 14,006.

As for overall cumulative leaders, the Volt, introduced Dec. 2010, retains the lead with 113,489 units, holding an almost 10,000-unit lead over the Leaf, released the same month.

Tesla’s S model, introduced June 2012, is catching up with 92,317 and these three are the majors well above the Prius plug-in/Prime released for public sale in early 2012, and Ford Fusion Energi introduced Feb. 2013.

Looking Ahead

There are now 13 battery electric and 17 plug-in hybrid passenger vehicles for sale in the U.S. compared to 33 hybrid electric vehicles.

At this stage the alternative market may yet be a picture of mindshare shifting from hybrids now comprising 2 percent of the market to plug-in cars now at almost 1 percent, and enthusiasts are still looking for greater evidence of a tipping point.

Europe Is Awakening From Diesel-Induced Sleep to Chase New Electric (Car) Dreams

2016 was also a record year for conventional truck, crossover and SUV sales which, reality being what it is, are the bread and butter for carmakers while regulatory clouds and shifting consumer demand forecast a change in the global market environment.

Tesla-Model-3-Main-668x409

Actually, several major automakers including Daimler, BMW, VW Group, and Honda have made radical forward-looking statements in recent months that a coming sea change in their product assortment to plug-in over the coming decade is underway.

2017 ought therefore to be a lively year. An uncertain factor in the U.S. is the incoming president which has caused some alarm that programs in favor of pushing the plug-in market forward may be curtailed.

Otherwise, the first sub-$40,000, 200-plus-mile range EVs are on their way as faster and more public charging infrastructure and numerous other new vehicle models and developments fleshing out the market are expected.

To date nothing has gone exactly as people projected at the beginning of the decade, but progress has been measurable just the same, and more ought to happen this year barring unforeseen complications.

Thanks to Mario R. Duran for help with data.

HybridCars.com

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2017 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 40


  1. 1
    Big Game James

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (6:39 am)


    An uncertain factor in the U.S. is the incoming president which has caused some alarm that programs in favor of pushing the plug-in market forward may be curtailed.

    While I would prefer that they remain in place, if some programs are curtailed, it is not cause for alarm. The phase out of the federal incentives were pre-built into the legislation based upon units sold. If they are phased out now, Tesla, G.M., and Nissan (the very firms which opened the market) will have been the beneficiaries.

    As long as the California Air Resources Board has teeth, there is little cause for alarm about vehicle electrification.

    I will be alarmed if former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is confirmed as Secretary of State. This transparent lowlife presided over ExxonMobile while it funded smear attempts against electric vehicles. He led ExxonMobile while it spent millions of dollars lobbying against sanctions on Russia. He wants to sell Russia advanced technologies which would enable it to drill in the Arctic.

    You know what they say, “The scum runs together in the gutter.”

    Thanks!


  2. 2
    Koz

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (7:36 am)

    If change is to be made to the Plug-in credit program, hopefully is the change that should have been made long ago. Change it to one shared pool for all manufacturers so that the leaders in the market get the most benefit. They could even lower the potential total credits by selling 1 million vehicle cap with first come, first served structure. Tesla, GM, BMW and Nissan would be the big winners as they should be since they’ve done the most plug-in development and taken the biggest risks.


  3. 3
    john1701a

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (8:43 am)

    (click to show comment)


  4. 4
    Kdawg

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (8:57 am)

    Just saw an article at Inside EVs of a CNET interview w/Mary Barra.

    “…the Bolt is our platform that we’re going to continue on and have a huge range of vehicles.” – Mary Barra

    https://youtu.be/ENW4ygOhCnY

    Bring them on!


  5. 5
    bro1999

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (9:03 am)

    One of those 2016 plug-ins sold last year is my Bolt! And it’s finally heading eastward to MD! Woohoo
    http://bro05.blogspot.com/2017/01/hit-road-brandon.html


  6. 6
    Dave G

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (9:16 am)

    Big Game James: An uncertain factor in the U.S. is the incoming president which has caused some alarm that programs in favor of pushing the plug-in market forward may be curtailed.

    In general, I believe subsidies are a bad idea.

    But right now, the U.S. government subsidies big oil companies to the tune of $4 billion a year. Those subsidies translate to a $2/gallon discount at the pump. What’s more, U.S. gas taxes are not enough to pay for maintaining our roads and highways.

    So we end up paying for our low gasoline prices though higher income taxes. As a comparison, Europeans are currently paying $5.50 to $6.75 a gallon for gasoline.

    In other words, with the huge subsidies given to big oil, it’s nowhere near a level playing field. If they removed those subsidies, I would gladly give up my plug-in tax credit.


  7. 7
    Kdawg

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (9:20 am)

    bro1999,

    Nice. Do you happen to own a GoPro and have you found a nearby 80kW station to do some charging videos? 😀


  8. 8
    bro1999

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (9:24 am)

    Kdawg:
    bro1999,

    Nice.Do you happen to own a GoPro and have you found a nearby 80kW station to some charging videos?

    I own a knock-off GoPro and answer is probably no to your 2nd question. Lol


  9. 9
    Dan Petit/Petit Technical College

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (9:32 am)

    Mrs. Barra knows that American Prosperity is quickly achievable through electrification for GM customers, even the light truck customers eventually.

    Electrification is the big change which has proven the biggest gain.
    (Yes, I will “keep the change” thank you very much!) (Referring to a past bumper sticker, BTW).

    Strict open mindedness to adopt well designed change, and maximizing the new capabilities, yields prosperity both in time and money saved, but even moreso, in *wide-open new opportunities* to work with.

    Mrs. Barra has long seen these potentials for GM customers.


  10. 10
    Capt Bentley

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (9:45 am)

    The Truck, Crossover, and SUV market had the strongest sales, yet there are minimal choices for PEVs in that segment of the market. If there were, the PEV sales percentage would be much higher. Too bad the Outlander PHEV is still not available for sale in the USA. Does anyone know if Mitsubishi has one at the Detroit Auto Show Right now?


  11. 11
    George Stuart Bower

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (9:51 am)

    bro1999: I answer is probably no to your 2nd question. Lol

    Well get crackin:)


  12. 12
    bro1999

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (9:55 am)

    Real time location of my Bolt:
    http://i1376.photobucket.com/albums/ah20/bro19991/locate_zpsuouj7uz9.jpg~original

    Ugh, I have lost the img war. Kdawg, help!

    Looks like he’s already stopped for a break?? Hey, get back on the road Brandon!
    http://i1376.photobucket.com/albums/ah20/bro19991/reststop_zpsxyq9zufz.jpg~original


  13. 13
    Kdawg

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (10:28 am)

    bro1999,

    For reference, that is about 30 miles east of Barstow, CA.
    locate_zpsuouj7uz9.jpg~original


  14. 14
    HVACman

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (10:33 am)

    Kdawg:
    bro1999,

    Appropriate route for bro’s Bolt, as he is probably sitting on “pins and needles” right now waiting for it:)


  15. 15
    George Stuart Bower

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (10:50 am)

    Kdawg:
    bro1999,

    For reference, that is about 30 miles east of Barstow, CA.

    So bros bolt is still in ca?


  16. 16
    HVACman

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (10:54 am)

    From the article:

    “Cheap gas has more adversely affected non-plug-in hybrids however, which have had a 3.19 percent market share in 2013 whittled to 1.99 percent last year – and meanwhile plug-ins are up”

    and

    “This in turn helped PEV market share rise for the year to 0.90 percent – consisting of 0.48 percent battery electrics, and 0.42 percent plug-in hybrids.”

    Cumulatively, non-plugin hybrids + PEVs = 2.89% of 2016 sales, almost matching the 3.19% level of 2013. High efficiency vehicles have not lost popularity due to low gas prices, but the purchase decisions have changed. 31% of ALL electrified vehicles sold in 2016 were plug-ins. We have heard that the #1 trade-in for a Volt is a Prius. It is very likely that PEV’s are now poaching HEV customers. Note how Toyota shifted “gears” and made the plug-in Prius Prime their “premier” version of the Prius product line.

    The hybrid market is now screaming the mantra of one long-time forum member:

    No plug – no sale!


  17. 17
    George Stuart Bower

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (10:58 am)

    Kdawg:
    Just saw an article at Inside EVs of a CNET interview w/Mary Barra.

    “…the Bolt is our platform that we’re going to continue on and have a huge range of vehicles.” – Mary Barra

    https://youtu.be/ENW4ygOhCnY

    Bring them on!

    I watched that video. Mary drives a cadillac suv xt5. She really lit up when they talked about how well the big SUVs were selling. Honestly this country never learns anything.

    Sorry for so much OT. Good article. Gm in second place right behind Tesla…as it should be.

    So when is ETAfor bros BOlt?


  18. 18
    Kdawg

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (11:24 am)

    HVACman: Note how Toyota shifted “gears” and made the plug-in Prius Prime their “premier” version of the Prius product line.
    The hybrid market is now screaming the mantra of one long-time forum member:
    No plug – no sale!

    That’s why it was such a missed opportunity not offering the Camry with a plug. Right now, the only car in that demographic is the Ford Fusion Energi.


  19. 19
    Jeff Cobb

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (12:35 pm)

    HVACman: Cumulatively, non-plugin hybrids + PEVs = 2.89% of 2016 sales, almost matching the 3.19% level of 2013. High efficiency vehicles have not lost popularity due to low gas prices, but the purchase decisions have changed. 31% of ALL electrified vehicles sold in 2016 were plug-ins. We have heard that the #1 trade-in for a Volt is a Prius. It is very likely that PEV’s are now poaching HEV customers.

    Good analysis. 🙂

    Article quote: “At this stage the alternative market may yet be a picture of mindshare shifting from hybrids now comprising 2 percent of the market to plug-in cars now at almost 1 percent, and enthusiasts are still looking for greater evidence of a tipping point.”


  20. 20
    jhm614

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (12:52 pm)

    Dave G,

    What are these subsidies, exactly? Are they explict tax breaks for petro production?


  21. 21
    john1701a

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (12:56 pm)

    (click to show comment)


  22. 22
    Mark Z

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (1:27 pm)

    Chevrolet Bolt will help raise the sales numbers this year. Many Tesla EVs were ordered late last year for 2017 delivery before the Supercharger costs kick in. The numbers will continue to climb as Model 3 sales start. Plug-in and celebrate the news.


  23. 23
    bro1999

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (1:40 pm)

    George Stuart Bower: So bros bolt is still in ca?

    Just passed Essex, CA a little while ago! Approaching the NV border.


  24. 24
    Jackson

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (1:54 pm)

    Capt Bentley: The Truck, Crossover, and SUV market had the strongest sales, yet there are minimal choices for PEVs in that segment of the market. If there were, the PEV sales percentage would be much higher.

    Perhaps a trend to greater size will follow the cellphone’s: getting bigger in order to hold more battery. This is why cellphones are getting closer to tablets every year; the larger footprint allows for more power storage. As available miles-per-charge accelerate in a competitive market, the continual “one-upping” will require more physical space; and the car will grow along with it. At some point, we will begin seeing the small end of this segment getting some good EV choices. You can argue that the Bolt represents the beginning of this, if you accept it as a “mini” CUV and not a hatchback.


  25. 25
    dakster

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (2:02 pm)

    jhm614,

    The oil companies that drill for crude oil get subsidies and tax breaks. Alaska gives out a lot of subsidies, but it also gets royalties on production. However, last year subsidies were higher than royalties, since the royalties are based off the price of a barrel of oil.

    Alaska is also trying to get an oil refiner to the state and they would subsidize that as well – at least according to the newspaper. I don’t know about what federal subsidies are out there or any other states. I took in upon myself to learn about how the state I moved to works, not the gas/oil industry as a whole.

    On the natural gas side, the state is trying to get a partnership to build a natural gas pipeline, but that project isn’t looking well right now. And before you say “good”, remember this is home heating fuel that is much cleaner than coal, fuel oil, or wood burning stoves. Some large for Alaska population centers do not have gas piped to the homes and as such the inversion layer traps particulate, ergo, air quality alerts are common in the winter. Being able to run natural gas would go a long way towards cleaning the air, as would running, BEVs.

    Glad to see the chairperson of GM saying that the bolt platform is going to spread to other vehicles.


  26. 26
    john1701a

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (2:28 pm)

    (click to show comment)


  27. 27
    Jackson

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (3:06 pm)

    john1701a,

    I was skeptical of the claim myself, but several well-placed sources insist that the battery is the size driver, not the display. It happens to offer space for a larger display, and people like it; but that’s actually of secondary importance.

    EDIT: I’m finding that there is more to size (power dissipation) than battery space, but this is what I’d always heard. This article confirms that, for other reasons, the display is not the controlling factor:

    https://www.extremetech.com/computing/163636-the-ever-expanding-smartphone-or-why-are-phablets-so-darn-popular

    Wireless charging is far from universal, and rapid charging is pretty transparent to the user.

    I think my central point is a valid one: As greater range becomes more desirable, more physical space to put the batteries becomes necessary. This will naturally result in larger vehicles.


  28. 28
    john1701a

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (3:59 pm)

    Jackson,

    Bigger isn’t always better, especially when cost-reduction is a priority.

    That’s why electric-efficiency rating comes into play. Here’s a few examples (fewer kWh is better):

    31 kWh/100 mi = 106 MPGe = 2017 Chevy Volt
    30 kWh/100 mi = 114 MPGe = 2016 Nissan Leaf
    30 kWh/100 mi = 116 MPGe = 2016 VW e-Golf
    29 kWh/100 mi = 111 MPGe = 2017 BMW i3 PHEV
    28 kWh/100 mi = 119 MPGe = 2017 Chevy Bolt
    27 kWh/100 mi = 124 MPGe = 2017 BMW i3 EV
    26 kWh/100 mi = 133 MPGe = 2017 Toyota Prius Prime


  29. 29
    Johnson & Johnson

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (4:23 pm)

    He’s emotionally arrested at age 10.


  30. 30
    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (5:45 pm)

    john1701a: 31 kWh/100 mi = 106 MPGe = 2017 Chevy Volt
    30 kWh/100 mi = 114 MPGe = 2016 Nissan Leaf
    30 kWh/100 mi = 116 MPGe = 2016 VW e-Golf
    29 kWh/100 mi = 111 MPGe = 2017 BMW i3 PHEV
    28 kWh/100 mi = 119 MPGe = 2017 Chevy Bolt
    27 kWh/100 mi = 124 MPGe = 2017 BMW i3 EV
    26 kWh/100 mi = 133 MPGe = 2017 Toyota Prius Prime

    So, just how many Primes have been sold?
    You just opened a cumulative can of worms, how many Volts have been sold in the last 6 years? What’s going on with Toyota? So much missed opportunity. They should be ashamed. Given Toyota’s technological abilities, it’s almost criminal they waited so long to bring out a plug-in.
    bfh0dk.jpg


  31. 31
    Sheldon

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (6:01 pm)

    Eco_Turbo,

    GM uses active TMS to cool the battery which is one reason why there is a penalty an MPGE efficiency charging the battery. But I’d rather have a Volt battery than a Leaf battery. Another reason is that GM’s volt has more complicated transmission; also more acceleration than the Prius Prime. All of these cars are greener than the greenest hybrid for most of the country’s grid.


  32. 32
    john1701a

     

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (6:42 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: You just opened a cumulative can of worms…

    The goal to sell at mainstream volume with a MSRP price of “nicely under $30,000” has been around for 10 years.


  33. 33
    Jackson

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (8:33 pm)

    john1701a: The goal to sell at mainstream volume with a MSRP price of “nicely under $30,000″ has been around for 10 years.

    Your goal to bedevil us with irrelevant Toyo-boosting goes back almost as far.


  34. 34
    Jackson

     

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (8:50 pm)

    john1701a: Bigger isn’t always better, especially when cost-reduction is a priority.

    So, if I understand you, smaller will always be more desirable than bigger? Cost-reduction is a priority, but not the only one. People need to see a car as a desirable solution first and foremost.

    In fact, I find that bigger isn’t ever better when smaller supports your argument. I guess we’ll find out which approach “wins.” (Pro tip: Don’t crow too loud before Prime’s sales numbers get big. If they do).

    If cost-reduction is the main driving force, shouldn’t the Prime cost less than it does?

    It’s possible to see the tiny Prime EV range as a lack of commitment on the part of Toyota rather than as a deliberate strategy. 20 – 25 miles is about as small a range as they could get away with and still claim value. It does seem like Toyo is at least five years behind and that Prime is “too little, too late.”

    I wanted to stand the size argument on it’s head by suggesting that batteries might drive the size of the vehicle, more so than the EV being hamstrung by a small battery. What we’re seeing so far is that “greater” isn’t the same thing as “bigger.” (Greater range is being offered for smaller vehicles). You’ve turned that premise into a p***ing contest over range; or rather, the lack of it (?).


  35. 35
    john1701a

     

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (8:51 pm)

    GM set that goal for Volt.


  36. 36
    Jackson

     

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (8:59 pm)

    john1701a,

    You set the goal of persistent troll and chief nay-sayer for yourself.

    Is an initial forward-looking statement something you can use in the court of your own opinion? Apparently so. I say it’s irrelevant to today, old news that you just can’t let go of.


  37. 37
    Jackson

     

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    Jan 12th, 2017 (9:36 pm)

    There’s been a lot of talk attempting to explain GM’s failure to promote it’s electrics: That they fear losing sales of gas vehicles to PEV versions. I feel this is a flawed argument: EV buyers and ICE buyers are not the same group of people. People will come in to look for a PHEV truck who would never consider an ICE model (for example). However, there could be a germ of truth behind it:

    Let’s try a thought-experiment.

    Let’s say that you’re a car maker that owns the market for conventional hybrids. Won’t a real modern PEV threaten it’s sibling hybrid sales? Do you

    1) Throw your company behind a true EREV or advanced PEV design to stay current,

    or do you

    2) Create a marginal plug-in late, then a bottom-of-class PEV once the handwriting gets on the wall, then limit availability and advertising to control it’s numbers?

    The argument against GM with it’s gas vehicles is literally true for Toyota and it’s Prius; it has too great an investment in Synergy hybrids to entertain a competing design within it’s own stable. We see this in how history has actually played out. I suggest that the Prime is mainly for traditional Toyota buyers who might otherwise trade in their Prii for Volts or Bolts. Toyo has noted what gets traded in most often for the Volt, and they offer Prime as a peace offering: holding it’s nose as it does so with the smallest PEV implementation possible.

    Toyota can’t admit that a real PEV is that good an idea … and after all, the future is Hydrogen. 😛


  38. 38
    Mark Z

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    Jan 13th, 2017 (3:00 am)

    If smaller is best, then a Ninebot by Segway miniPRO is the transportation to buy!

    http://www.segway.com/products/consumer-lifestyle/minipro


  39. 39
    john1701a

     

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    Jan 14th, 2017 (1:39 pm)

    Jackson: It’s possible to see the tiny Prime EV range as a lack of commitment on the part of Toyota rather than as a deliberate strategy. 20 – 25 miles is about as small a range as they could get away with and still claim value. It does seem like Toyo is at least five years behind and that Prime is “too little, too late.”

    It took awhile to figure out how to respond to such a profound misunderstanding of purpose & risk…

    Attempting to deliver as much as possible with as little as possible is a huge gamble that takes a great deal of research & development. Anyone can simply add more battery and hope for the best. It takes a lot of guts to deliver a minimum instead.

    Toyota is doing that with the 25 miles from Prime. Adding to that risk is taking the chance of not including liquid cooling. It’s an expense & complex avoided, which puts them ahead of others who are not investing in better chemistry for air cooling.

    All the excuses & deflections attempting to draw attention away from the goal of replacing traditional vehicles simply won’t work. How can something be too late when others haven’t delivered on that goal yet?

    Nicely under $30,000 selling profitably in high-volume is the purpose. We see the risk being taken. That’s substantial commitment.


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    john1701a

     

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    john1701a
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    Jan 16th, 2017 (10:10 am)

    Jackson: I suggest that the Prime is mainly for traditional Toyota buyers who might otherwise trade in their Prii for Volts or Bolts. Toyo has noted what gets traded in most often for the Volt…

    Quoting outdated data is misleading, but leaving out vital information is what tells the real story. True, Prius was indeed the most traded. But that was way back when gen-1 Volt was still new. There wasn’t any other choice available. GM took advantage of that be offering very inticing lease deals. Who wouldn’t trade in their old Prius for a dirt-cheap Volt they could part with after 3 years?

    In other words, GM took the risk, but lost out in the end. Those “most traded” people simply moved on after leaes expired to other automakers; many were drawn to Tesla. Heck, we’ve even seen some of the most loyal Volt supporters declare a loyalty shift over to Bolt instead due to that desire for more EV. The purpose of building up owners to grow the market from within (attract GM’s own customers) didn’t happen Traditional buyers weren’t interested..

    That brings us to a question of purpose. If Prime retains Toyota showroom shoppers, what does gen-2 Volt do for GM? Hybrid owners cannot be the only target. Conquest & Cannibal sales are short-term only.