Ford pivots toward hybrids

BEV sales are not increasing faster than PHEV sales. They’re growing at the same rate. As noted in the article linked above, the relative proportion of BEV and PHEV sales in Europe has remained constant for the last five and a half years - roughly a 70/30 split. The same is true globally. And that’s been true even through the explosion of uptake of the Model Y.

Given the durability of the PHEV market share, I think there’s some solid evidence that PHEV’s will be part of the future of the automotive market for quite some time to come. Given the US’ lagging uptake in EV’s generally (despite being the “home field” for Tesla), it might not be a bad idea for domestic automakers to offer products in the hybrid space.

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It could also partially be a political thing. GM has to show bad EV sales so they and their unions can pressure the administration/congress to forestall regulations (move to EV, higher MPG, etc) that would kill them, and to lobby for [more] bailout money. Especially in an election year.


BEV sales are increasing faster than PHEVs in Europe and the USA. According to the International Energy Agency:

For Europe:

In Europe, electric car sales increased by more than 15% in 2022 relative to 2021 to reach 2.7 million…In 2022, BEV sales rose by 30% relative to 2021 (compared to 65% growth in 2021 relative to 2020) while PHEV sales dipped by around 3%.

For USA:

In the United States, electric car sales increased 55% in 2022 relative to 2021, led by BEVs. Sales of BEVs increased by 70%, reaching nearly 800 000 and confirming a second consecutive year of strong growth after the 2019-2020 dip. Sales of PHEVs also grew, albeit by only 15%.

Sales of PHEVs did rise more than BEVs in 2022 China, but that was attributed to the ending of PHEV subsidies in 2023 leading to a rush of PHEV sales at the end of 2022.

Plug-in hybrid car sales were boosted by the end of local incentives in some Chinese cities, to about 200,000 units, so we might see a slowdown in this category in early 2023. China: Nearly 6 Million Plug-In Cars Were Sold In 2022

Interesting perspective.

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Yes - in that one year. As noted in the excerpt I quoted above, BEV’s pulled a small amount of market share back from PHEV’s in 2022 compared to 2021. But in the intermediate term, the relative share of the two is unchanged:

Full electric vehicles (BEVs) ended the year growing faster than PHEVs — +57% year over year (YoY) versus +46% YoY. That allowed them to end the year with 72% of plugin EV sales, up 1 percentage point from the 71% of 2021 but still below the 74% of 2019. Interestingly, the EV sales breakdown between the two powertrains has been balancing between 69% and 74% since 2018, giving credit to those who say that PHEVs will still be around for a while.

Year to date for 2023, the split is still 70/30 globally. In Europe, BEV’s are losing ground so far this year (a 66/34 split), but that’s only through May - Tesla’s EOQ surge probably brought it back to the 70/30 level:

Again, when the Model 3 wave hit its height in 2019, it sure looked like PHEV’s were going to be taken out. But that was the peak of the BEV/PHEV split. Since then, PHEV’s have held their own. They’ve consistently been about 30% of the EV market - both globally and in Europe.

In the US, the percentage is lower (about 20%) - which is not surprising, given Tesla’s dominance in the domestic market. However, since the more mature/higher-adoption countries of Europe and China have a vigorous PHEV market, that probably reflects a market opportunity for automakers.

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Not in Q1 2023 for Europe. Not sure where your info is coming from.

In Q1 2023, Battery EV (BEV) sales jumped 32% YoY while plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) sales declined 13% YoY. European EV Sales Increased Over 13% YoY in Q1 2023 with Tesla Model Y as Bestseller - Counterpoint

That’s asking a lot of the Model 3 given Tesla was only able to build 500,000 cars in 2020 and people like SUVs more than sedans. Once Tesla ramped production up to million cars/year in 2022 with most of these an SUV, the PHEV share has declined in the US and Europe.

China is an odd market because a large number of people live in high-rises and so cannot conveniently charge their cars at home. This is an obvious disincentive to own a full electric and it is frankly amazing the so many have bought BEVs.

Outside of China, Tesla is the only company currently capable of building a profitable BEV that out-competes ICEs and hybrids. That means that PHEVs will be relevant until Tesla mass-produces a $30K BEV and the charging network expands enough. At that point, PHEVs will become a minor niche segment in the west. Probably happen in 2-4 years. Is that a sufficient window to justify Ford going hybrid? We’ll see, but I think it is a tough sell.

Oh sure we can, we’ve proven it several times. Just double the price of gasoline, whoops, big car sales tank. That is politically unpalatable, of course, but there is a proven mechanism to make it work. And if supply/demand doesn’t work, adding a carbon tax to gasoline would do it. (Again, politically difficult, but that is a different thing.)

Sometimes you have to hit the donkey with a 2x4 to get his attention. Not really different with the majority of the car driving public.


We are Shinier than we were in 74 or 79. The vehicle industry is systematically dropping smaller, more fuel efficient, models, in it’s drive to ramp ATP and GP to infinity. People can’t shift to smaller vehicles if the price of gas jumps, like they used to.


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They can buy Civics, Camry’s, Altimas.

We need to do this if for no other reason to invest in our roadways and bridges.


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And the big three would cry a river and demand protection from all those US made Hondas and Toyotas.


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I’m sure the gasoline companies will love that.
Unless we do it via a tax, and I’m sure that would affect someone’s election prospects.

People pulling big trailers say th EVs so far are not powerful enough. They still need ICEs to for the power they need.

People with large families and pets also say they need more space.

Maybe one day but not yet. EVs are best as a commuter vehicle for one or two people.

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Yes. Very small percentage of the people who buy those vehicles, however, actually end up using them in that manner. Which is why it’s so puzzling.

“I bought a vehicle with capabilities I never actually use and wastes gas because of my decision, so I’m mad when that waste becomes too expensive”.


People do need a vehicle large enough to carry the whole family or pull a trailer when they want to. You can discourage that behavior several ways. So they own two vehicles. Or rent when they need something bigger.

Bottom line is it may not be logical to some, but its hard to stop if they are willing to pay the price.

The spendthrift ways are, as usual, enabled by “EZ-credit”. If people had to pay off a new sled in 3 years, which used to be the norm, they couldn’t afford to drop $50K+ on a huge pickup or SUV. In the quarter ending June 23, Ford boasted of a $56,000 ATP.


From here:

BEVs kept gaining momentum in May, with last month’s growth rate (+67% YoY) being the highest in over a year. Meanwhile, PHEVs (+1%) remained stable. These performances allowed pure electrics to represent 68% of plugin registrations last month, pulling the YTD share to 66%.

Again, a given month or quarter might have BEV’s or PHEV’s growing faster than the year ago quarter - and other months or quarters have the reverse. Generally speaking, , though, the proportion of BEV’s and PHEV’s has remained remarkably constant. The current YTD 66/34 split shows that PHEV’s share has increased from the all-time low in 2019 (where it was 74/26) and from last year (when it was 70/30)

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People know what they like. Why aren’t there a large number of electric SUVs being made to service the demand (and not guzzle).


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I think comparing 2019 with 2023 is a bit misleading out of context. Let’s look at the intervening years as well, first by number of cars of each type sold in Europe (data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA):

2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 (Jan-Jun)
BEV 283,347 538,772 877,985 1,123,778 703,586
PHEV 174,103 507,059 864,103 874,182 401,704

And now by percentage:

2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
BEV 0.62 0.52 0.50 0.56 0.64
PHEV 0.38 0.48 0.50 0.44 0.36

PHEVs achieved its peak popularity with respect to BEVs in 2021 with a huge jump in 2020, but has been on a steady decline since. I suppose it is possible that PHEVs will rise again, but my opinion is that it is unlikely. The recent trend seems pretty negative and coincides with the ramping of the Model Y in Europe.

Spreadsheet data for 2023 is downloadable below. Can get other years by google search ACEA fuel type sales stats for that year and downloading pdf.

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Since BEV/PHEV are outsold by conventional ICE, generally, all those COVID years don’t mean much to me. There were lots of shortages and changes in production mix due to initial lower demand and then much higher demand.


Jalopnik reporter Tom McParland says “a Toyota dealer contact” sent him the document. It tries to “explain to the dealer network why they should expect to see more hybrids on their lots and not so many EVs” or plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs)…

“The overall carbon reduction of those 90 hybrids over their lifetimes is 37 times as much as a single battery electric vehicle.”