Print 13 comment(s) - last by likewhat.. on Apr 3 at 12:15 PM

Hybrid automotive sales continue to increase

The LA Times reports that hybrid vehicle sales are booming. According to the publication, sales for hybrid vehicles were up 32% in January and February of 2013 compared to the same months of last year. At the same time, overall market share for hybrids in the automotive industry has reached 4% and some predict that percentage of the market could double by the end of the decade.

The most common type of hybrids are those such as the Toyota Prius that use battery power in lieu of the gasoline engine (or in conjunction) in certain circumstances to increase fuel economy. There are also plug-in hybrid vehicles out there that are able to run on electric power alone for an extended period of time (35 miles in the case of the Chevrolet Volt). There's also a third classification of hybrid vehicles that use technology not primarily intended to improve fuel economy, but to improve performance.

The Ferrari LaFerrari falls into the latter category. In this particular application, the hybrid system is more like the KERS system used in Formula One racing than the system in the Prius. The LaFerrari uses its hybrid system to increase low RPM performance so engineers could tune the V12 to scream in the higher RPM band.

Ferrari LaFerrari

Despite increasing popularity, hybrids are still expected to account for only a small portion of automotive sales for years to come. One of the biggest fears for buyers is that expensive battery packs will need to be replaced at some point. However, Toyota notes that 90% of the Prius automobiles it has sold since the car launched in 2000 are still on the road today.
And a test conducted by Consumer Reports in 2011 showed that Prius battery packs still pack a punch after even a decade of use. The publication tested a nearly 10-year-old Prius with 206,000 miles on the odometer against the results they gleaned from a brand new Prius (when it first tested the vehicle in 2001). Tests showed that the Prius when new scored overall fuel economy of 40.6 mpg; the Prius with 206k on the odo was a few ticks behind at 40.4 mpg.

Source: LA Times

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waste solution?
By BRB29 on 4/2/2013 12:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
i wonder how they will handle all those batteries when it is no longer in service. That stuff is extremely toxic and i hope they have a good solution for it instead of just burying it and hope it never leaks.

RE: waste solution?
By CharonPDX on 4/2/2013 1:35:38 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, recycling. NiMH and Li-Ion batteries are both immensely recyclable, and every hybrid and EV manufacturer has "recapture" incentives in place to the return of batteries to the manufacturer for recycling (Toyota offers dealers $200 for each dead Prius battery pack.) Not to mention, even they DO enter the waste stream, they are far less toxic than lead acid or even alkaline batteries. (The US EPA says lead acid and alkaline batteries should not enter the trash stream - it also says that NiMH and Li-Ion are perfectly safe in the trash stream.)

See for more.

RE: waste solution?
By BRB29 on 4/2/13, Rating: 0
RE: waste solution?
By kmmatney on 4/2/2013 3:11:47 PM , Rating: 2
They seem to handle people returning their lead-acid batteries OK (that every car uses), so I don't see a problem here.

RE: waste solution?
By maugrimtr on 4/3/2013 9:26:20 AM , Rating: 2
Just another guy who is forgetting their "free market solves all" narrative when it suits him... In this case, the free market works extremely well since reclaiming batteries has a positive economic benefit for those companies (as their purchase-back arrangements confirm).

I'd be more worried about small electronic devices like smartphones. The cost of recycling those is prohibitive despite the vast quantities of rare metals and gold consumed by the industry overall (tiny quantities per device make it too expensive to recycle simply to reclaim those). We have something like 8-10% of annual gold used going into electronics at the moment. A lot of this "trash" ends up being dumped in China from industrialized nations like the US driving an extremely dangerous cottage industry in toxic metals reclamation processes.

Life of the super rich
By Mitch101 on 4/2/2013 10:53:45 AM , Rating: 2
Oh to just have the money and say yes without blinking at the price of the car. However nice the Ferrari is I would prefer the Lamborghini Veneno. Less HP but 0-60 in 2.8 and a top speed of 221 something that's worthy of being in the bat cave.

RE: Life of the super rich
By kattanna on 4/2/2013 11:32:36 AM , Rating: 2
Not a bad looking car. I would go out today and buy one..but I'm not sure WHERE I would park it. My 15 car garage is already full and I havent had time to demolish the low rent neighborhood next to me to make way for its expansion just yet..bummers

hopefully they will all be out before thanksgiving so I can finish the garage by christmas to add this to my collection.

thanks for the link!

Numbers don't match up
By Solandri on 4/2/2013 3:56:47 PM , Rating: 2
According to the WSJ, the Prius only showed a 4.5% year-yo-year increase during Jan/Feb. Backing out the LA Times numbers for the Prius, it was at about 75% share of 61,046 in Jan/Feb 2012, or 45785. In Jan/Feb 2013 it was 62.6% share of 80,240 or 50230. Or a 9.7% increase from 2012 to 2013.

Even if you go with the 9.7% increase figure, that's less than light trucks (10.8%), cross-overs (15.2%), and barely more than SUVs (9.0%) according to the WSJ. So it's basically mid-MPG sedan buyers who are fleeing into hybrids and trucks. Given the way average fuel economy works (2/avg = 1/mpg1 + 1/mpg2 so the lower MPG gets weighted more heavily), I suspect this means the average fleet mileage has actually gone down, not up as the LA Times article implies.

The LA Times got its data from AutoData. The WSJ from MotorIntelligence. Both are behind paywalls so I can't look at the raw data, though the WSJ offers a much more comprehensive data set (but unfortunately not categorized by hybrid).

Incidentally, the graphic in the LA Times article says Jan/Feb hybrid sales were 61,046 in 2012 vs. 80,240 in 2013. That's a 31.4% increase, not 32%. So the LA Times is rounding up.

RE: Numbers don't match up
By likewhat on 4/3/2013 12:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
Your first two paragraphs are comparing a model (Prius) with segments. The article is discussing the percentage of vehicles with a hybrid drivetrain, which is a feature that is cross-segment. As the return on investment on hybrid vehicles continues to get shorter, more vehicles across segments will be hybrid, including trucks and SUVs.
The changing market share of sedans to trucks is not mutually exclusive to the change in market share from non-hybrids to hybrid.

Incidentally, the graphic in the LA Times article says Jan/Feb hybrid sales were 61,046 in 2012 vs. 80,240 in 2013. That's a 31.4% increase, not 32%. So the LA Times is rounding up.

February was longer last year. Adjusted for that, sales are up ~33.67%. So, I don't think rounding up to 32% is disingenuous.

4% in over a decade
By FITCamaro on 4/2/2013 11:38:47 AM , Rating: 2
Good progress...

By lagomorpha on 4/2/2013 12:08:35 PM , Rating: 2
Where is my hybrid Impreza?

By chizow on 4/2/2013 12:32:03 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty important distinction and I would expect the former, but either way it's a pretty impressive number. Given how few models are offered in a Hybrid option, that 4% of all new cars sold is still very impressive but I'd be more interested in seeing the % of hybrids for a particular model as that would be a better indication of consumer preference for Hybrids.

By btc909 on 4/2/2013 12:42:31 PM , Rating: 2
Still waiting for that Hybrid Yugo.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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