Low gas prices have put a hurting on hybrid car sales, but plug-in car sales have actually been growing as oil prices drop. A new study says that despite the lowest gas prices in years, plug-in car sales could rise to become 1% of the new car market in the first quarter of 2015.
According to used car sales firm Carlypso, sales of plug-in hybrid and electric cars reached about 0.86% of the new car market in December of 2014, which puts their rate of adoption at a higher and faster rate than that of the initial wave of hybrid vehicles. While not gaining nearly enough steam to meet President Obama’s goal of one-million plug-in car sales by the end of this year, we’re already well past the quarter-million mark, and could even reach 500,000 by the end of 2015. Sales in 2014 grew 55% over the year before, and plug-in sales only seem to be gaining steam. What’s more, it’s just three vehicles…the Chevy Volt, Nissan LEAF, and Tesla Model S, that are driving these sales.
Even if Americans do buy enough plug-ins this quarter to meet the 1% mark though, Norway has us beat by about a year to this important milestone. At this rate, plug-ins could outsell hybrid cars, which make up less than 3% of the new car market, in just a couple of more years. Of course, trucks and SUVs still make up about 50% of new car sales in America, although even those have gotten a lot more efficient, with pickups like the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel nearing 30 MPG.
Once somebody gets the balls to build and sell a plug-in hybrid pickup, sales of cars that plug-in more than they fill-up might finally breach the mainstream market.