Electric Vehicles Are Outpacing Historical Hybrid Car Growth 3 to 1

For a project we are working on, we have been analyzing EV and HEV historical sales performance.  The numbers are striking.

In the US Hybrids took until their 6th year to achieve 100,000+/year in unit sales and 1% in market share of new vehicles sold.

Electrics and Plugins are currently on pace to do that in 2013 and 2014, 2-3 years ahead of Hybrids.

EVs are currently outpacing hybrid sales growth by a stunning amount in their first three years vs the first 3 years of hybrid cars, and the rate of outperformance has been accelerating each year:  EVs are 1.9x, 2.6x, and 3.4x the unit sales level of hybrids over the first 3 years.

Using US historical hybrid vehicle numbers as a benchmark that rate of outperformance would equal nearly 1 mm/year sales by 2018, and 4.2 mm EVs on the road by the end of the decade in 2020.

There are now 4 electric / plugin hybrid car platforms around the 20K+/year mark, which essentially marks the level of a “real” car:

It took hybrids nearly decade to achieve that.

  • Tesla
  • Ford Energi / Focus Electric (taken as a group)
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Chevy Volt

That means essentially 4 car companies are already at  the $500 mm to $1 Bil/year level in EV revenues.

There are 20+ vehicle platforms behind them, and 2 of those four are in just their first full year, with the Toyota Prius plugin just beginning to rollout broadly.

Virtually every major platform has seen 20-30% price cuts, and seen drastic and rapid sales improvement when they did.  The carmarkers have basically found the price level to scale.

The Nissan LEAF achieved it’s 100,000th car sold globally earlier this year.  That’s level where the Prius is generally acknowledged to have broken even according to Bill Moore editor of EVWorld.com.   To put in perspective, that’s somewhere over $3 Billion in Leaf revenues to date.

Our internal baseline numbers now have Hybrids at 7.4 mm fleet size in 10 years, and EVs/PHEVs at 4.1 mm.  That would represent barely 6-7% market share, an extremely moderate share growth rate, and assumes heavy cannibalization of future HEV growth by EVs.

EVs may have been underselling the hype, but they are outselling the reality.  Given all of this we would welcome discussion, predictions and inputs on what reasonable expectations on EV growth are.


21 replies
  1. brucedp
    brucedp says:

    Hang on, Energi and Volt are hybrids, plugin-hybrids (pih/phev) specifically, and they are not EVs. Lumping them in with the (real) EVs taints the EV sales data.

    What your headline should say is:

    Plugin-Vehicles Are Outpacing Historical Hybrid Vehicle Growth 3 to 1


  2. Emc2
    Emc2 says:

    Your figure of global Leaf sales is wrong. In February this year the 50k milestone was reached, and over 71,000 units had been sold worldwide by July 2013. At the current rate the 100k mark will be reached earle next year.

  3. Innovationsmanagement
    Innovationsmanagement says:

    In my mind, plugins are not the way to go to drive the future. Their limitations in terms of reach and cost are too big. Innovative approaches are more in replacing instead of reloading empty batteries. If that is combined with multiple, smaller, modular batteries, short distance travel can be made with only one or two modules on board, whereas long distance travel with the whole set of modules aboard. That approach saves weight where it is not needed, makes vehicles cheaper when only needed for short distances and makes “refueling” easier if – as an example – empty vs. full exchange can be done with 10 lbs. modules instead of a 200 lbs battery.

  4. batterydoc
    batterydoc says:

    Wow!! how information can be distorted. The Toyota Hybrids with NIMH batteries are in the multi-millions sold worldwide. GM sales for June 2013 were between 1600-1700 units(they will be lucky to make last yrs numbers @ 24,000 units(they had projected to be @ 60,000 units per yr). Most of us PEONS can’t afford the very expensive Tesla vehicles. Both Ford and GM have dropped pricing drastically to mid-20,000’s and Ford has dropped EPA millage to 43 mpg from 47mpg on their C-max. You have been corrected on your Leaf numbers. The Toyota Prius is @ 52-53 mpg on NIMH batteries. But the BIG ONE is both Toyota(Prius) and Honda(Accord) will be making these HYBRIDS in China with the NIMH battery supplied by Hunan Corun New Energy of China. I would check my facts first if I were you.

  5. Neal Dikeman
    Neal Dikeman says:

    Batterydoc, good points, but your June sales are not correct.the Volt was at 2700, still struggling, mainly bc it hasn’t seen the price drop Leaf et al delivered. I believe you are referring to the May numbers. Jun was the Volt’s best month this year. Aug was weaker, but still strong YoY


    And while you are correct that NiMH still dominates the numbers. The Prius HEV family is the only major remaining NiMH product, they haven’t switched yet, but most analysts expect them to within the near term, probably as costs improve slightly, Toyota owns interest in a large LI battery business for a reason. Given the LI cost curves very few people expect NiMH to be more than a short term cost sensitive solution.

    And of note, we commented on Ford’s mpg rating issues last month, and were soundly thrashed by Ford on email for doing so. A big issue for Ford, but one that doesn’t really affect the answer here.

    • batterydoc
      batterydoc says:

      Numbers are only that numbers, but the lithium world is talking CUMULATIVE 100,000’s I gather. Conversely the NIMH world is talking tens of millions(with T Prius family and others) which will BALLOON shortly to many many many 10’s of millions as the NIMH powered HYBRIDS from Toyota(Prius family) and Honda(ACCORD) again are MANUFACTURED in China-NIMH from Hunan Corun New Energy. In Japan the NIMH is used not only to be recycled into new batteries, but are put on different duty cycle when 80% used up NOT for propulsion power but now for PV energy storage in Toyota dealerships which have PV on the roof (incentive from MITI-feed in incentive). I suggest you look up recycling of Lithium-ion by Toxco at their Trails British Colombia facility a few yrs ago-it is on u-tube!!! An enormous CONFLAGRATION along with explosion after explosion-no water please!! Add the probs Boeing/UPS/Fedex/Honeywell/Air Asia have had with Lithium batteries which are all nicely documented, and Lithium STILL has lots and lots to PROVE-safety-price-performance as with Ford C-max- general acceptance when given a choice. For ex the USED NIMH battery has VALUE(nickel-cobalt-rare earths) the used Lithium battery becomes a LIABILITY. One better look at the CRADLE to CRADLE approach for any product. Please convince me Lithium has such a working/successful plan as does NIMH presently and explore the fiduciary case for such a lithium recycling plan.

  6. Neal Dikeman
    Neal Dikeman says:

    Batterydoc, but bottom line, NiMH has no real future or upside technically or on cost. It is not adequate for EVs or PHEVs, only for HEVs that need minimal WH. Lithium ion on the other hand has seen c 50% cost reduction and dramatically improved performance in the last 5 years, and is expected to see that again and more in the next 5. That’s why virtually every company is switching. Also keep in mind that when it comes to battery volumes to drive down cost and improve performance with scale, one EV is equal to 10 HEVs, and EVs as I noted above are 2-3x the sales rate of HEVs at the same time in their lifecycle, meaning c 20-30x greater impact on battery manufacturing scale than NiMH from HEVs saw at this point. So you may not like them, but the writing is on the wall.

  7. DJ Christian
    DJ Christian says:

    Most are all new traction batteries are Lithium-Ion type. Virtually all manufacturers are now convinced that this technology is safe and durable.
    Toyota has been a major hold-out. But Toyota has announced plans to switch from their old Nickel Metal Hydride over to Lithium-Ion for new hybrid and battery electric cars.

  8. batterydoc
    batterydoc says:

    Come on now write whatever you want, but we know DJ C. and mr Neal D. are paid?to write there dribble. You pay NO ATTENTION to FACTS. Fact 1 WSJ 8-6-13 headline B1 Volt falls to electric-car price war(how much is GM LOOSING per car now?). Fact 2 no mention of LITHIUM in the air space UPS/FEDEX/BOEING/Air Asia/HONEYWELL all having to deal with the unstable lithium in planes both on and off the ground-what is your response there. Fact 3 totally IGNORED Toyota-Prius and Honda Accord hybrids to be made in China with the NIMH battery/you want to talk numbers how about huge numbers. Fact 4 once again IGNORED recycling of NIMH vs Lithium different ballgame. NIMH has a total life after propulsion-80% of life for NOT power propulsion but energy storage of PV electricity. Also VALUABLE commodities NICKEL/COBALT for so many other things like S.S. Once you survive the storage instability of used Lithium batteries(i.e.TOXCO) what is the market for recycled metals?? Fact 5 You quote the analysts who are???????. If you remember the analysts they miss the mark on just about everything try Y2K/one recession after another/Peak Oil/etc. Fact 6 you now to charge the Lithium pure electrics and plug in electrics put your faith in the electrical utilities whose number one concern is Cyber Security and of course the ravages of mother nature for their above ground ancient poles-wires which are constantly being further challenged by better growing trees/ bushes who love more and more CO2. They are defined from within as NEANDERTHALS. If the DOD gets hacked you don’t think these BRIILLIANT MINDS at the utilities wouldn’t suffer the same insults-well there goes you charging partners-off line. They may be defined as the evil empire but I would rather trust the oil and gas cos to supply the CHARGE from the I.C. engine to the HYBRID FUNCTION. The oil and gas industry is very very innovative,surely can’t say the same for the utilities!!!! Fact 7 do you think the oil/gas industry for one second will give up their business selling all types of fuel Fossil/HYDROGEN/SYNTHETIC GTL/SYNTHETIC CTL to supplement electric-hybrids PROVEN over and over again by the HYBRIDS in the world running on NIMH millions and millions with lots more coming. Fact 8 as all the rest fades I would again put much more faith in the Fuel Cell hybrid based on HYDROGEN ask SHELL. Fact 9 obviously you don’t understand that the NIMH battery already is a fuel cell,with their electrodes arranged in Fuel Cell configuration as opposed to a alkaline electrolyte Battery configuration(NIMH) ask BASF and R. Bosch they will tell you the same. Suggest you guys do a little homework yourselves and avoid listening to these mystery analysts who think LITHIUM is the panecea of all man’s ills(depression yes/batteries?history is playing itself out as we speak). Lead acid has been around for some 150 yrs still a big big part of electrical storage. Good luck in forcing this sales pitch down people’s throat.

  9. Michael in Palo Alto
    Michael in Palo Alto says:

    Could you all be missing the obvious?
    The early hybrid were and are ugly

    The new electrics are down right smokin.
    I would love to see how sales went if you had both a hybrid and an electric Tesla Coup S.
    I would bet the hybrid would smoke the electric. Every buyer I know of a Tesla is worried about the range.

  10. Basil van Rooyen
    Basil van Rooyen says:

    The way forward is crystal clear and defined by these incontestable facts: 1. EV’s as the family auto cannot be a global mass-market changer for reasons of cost being 3 times the gasoline equivalent. 2.EV’s batteries running flat will cause chaos – due to ageing, faults, oversight, detours etc. 3. Range anxiety is overwhelming. So we need a PHEV that need only do average daily commuting on batteries, say 40 miles, to save 90% of US auto gasoline and emissions, (because they can be charged overnight on off-peak power) with an extender IC engine – but these, like the Chev Volt – are too expensive to take the mass market – especially the booming Asian markets, where they are moving from mopeds to autos at $10k. Until we have a PHEV at gasoline auto prices, the surge cannot happen. But this change is possible, on these 3 pillars!
    1.The Protean electric engine-in-wheel, eliminates the transmission, even the differential and drive shafts. http://www.proteanelectric.com.
    2.Envia batteries announce 50% price reduction (www.enviasystems.com.
    3.The the keystone – the IC engine – instead of the typical 4 cylinder engine 4 stroke with valves and cams for say 120 back-up hp, the CITS V-twin offers this from just 2 two-stroke cylinders, and sump lubrication – about half the cost or less – http://www.citsengine.com.au.

  11. Azalik
    Azalik says:

    Hybrids can-could be used essentially as functional replacements for gasoline driven cars: no range anxiety, no concern about where to fill up or how long it might take. Just plain nirvana re: mpg. Electric cars (so far) are toys. Toys for big boys in the ‘he who dies with the most toys wins’ club. The initial growth may well be faster, but it will level out real fast unless there is a quick solution to range anxiety; and network of fast-charge locations is not it because batteries will die a lot sooner. Even if manufacturers offer, and are around to honor, warranties it is not going to be a viable sustainable solution.

  12. batterydoc
    batterydoc says:

    Apparently you worldly bloggers don’t even read the BASICS as you push electric vehicles. 8/30/2013 WSJ ever hear of it??? Article on Renault/Nissan-Carlos Ghosn C.E.O. Quoting the WSJ ” Renault’s $ 4 billion Euro investment in electric vehicles is also proving slow to deliver returns(despite the auto maker boasting one of the widest lineup of all-electric cars and vans on the market).” Problems they define as HIGH COST/SHORT RANGE/and the LACK of battery-charging infrastructure. Add that to the GM VOLT lackluster sales, who are we to believe???? You PUMPERS or REALITY??? Love to hear your SPIN on that one.

    • Jerry Yurow
      Jerry Yurow says:

      Checked your reference to the WSJ on wsj.com search engine using keywords “carlos ghosn.” No article with publication date 08/30/2013 was returned. Please advise. Thank you.

  13. batterydoc
    batterydoc says:

    Wall Street Journal TODAY Friday August 30, 2013 page starts on B1 and finishes on B2. article is the headliner of B section entitled ” Renault’s No. 2 Abruptly” Quits-picture of Carlos Ghosn below title headline. The QUOTE is on B2 middle of page. I am looking at it now. If you don’t get it there is SOMETHING wrong on your end. The REAL WORLD is in print black and white which I am holding with my hands. Good luck.

    • Jerry Yurow
      Jerry Yurow says:

      You are right. There is something wrong at my end. I found the headline link to <> on wsj.com, but I cannot read the full article without a paid subscription.


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