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Midwest Fastest Growing Region for Hybrid Registrations; West Still the Volume Leader

Polkhyb
Regional growth in hybrids. Click to enlarge.

New hybrid vehicle registrations have grown more than 49% nationwide in the first seven months of 2007 when compared to the same timeframe in 2006, according to data from R. L. Polk & Co. The Midwest region posted the highest increase of 56.9% when compared to the South, Northeast and the West regions.

The West region leads in total volume, anchored by the number one hybrid vehicle registration state, California. Oklahoma led all states with growth of more than 143% compared to the first seven months of 2006 while Hawaii was the only state showing a decline in new hybrid vehicle registrations, dropping 5.3%.

Hybrids are being adopted by vehicle buyers in all regions at an increasing rate for many factors which include fuel prices, differentiating themselves from other consumers and environmental activism. The data indicates that hybrids have not hit plateau and that there is room for continued growth within the marketplace in all regions.

—Lonnie Miller, Polk director of industry analysis

Large gains were made in the Midwest due in part to the Toyota Prius, which boasted an 88.3% increase, and the Toyota Camry with a 214.9% increase from the first seven months of 2006, which marked the entry of the Camry hybrid in the US.

While the majority of sedan hybrid registrations increased, both the Toyota Highlander and Lexus RX400h declined sharply in every region. Highlander registrations were down 24.6% while the RX400h was down 16.3%.

Following the Toyota Prius at just over 50% share of the hybrid segment, the Toyota Camry was the second highest registered hybrid model, taking 15% of the category, followed by the Honda Civic, with 9.1% of all new hybrid registrations. Continuing leadership in this segment, Toyota and Lexus own more than 78% of the hybrid market, compared to 74% in the first seven months of 2006.

While the overall US vehicle market is down, hybrids are a bright spot in the automotive industry with this category projected to easily exceed 300,000 vehicles this year. At this point, hybrids account for more than two percent of the total US vehicle market, which is supported by the regional growth we’ve seen.

—Lonnie Miller

Comments

Doug

So.... Does this mean that hybrids are a "success"? Or just "acceptance"?

I've always been a bit of a skeptic of the hybrid movement. Not because they aren't a good idea (and not because I think the Prius is a hideous looking car), but because they seem like a band-aid approach to saving gas. While it's true, they do use less gas (which is good), they also produce a false sense of security that somehow improving gas mileage X percent is a *good* thing. But it really seems only "less bad" - not the same as *good*. And that's not much better.

jack

But it really seems only "less bad" - not the same as *good*.

Yes, life isn't perfect.

BMW_4_ever

Eventually Toyota will roll out a hybrid version of its entire lineup. Once the price differential drops to less than $2K, hybrids will get more than 25% of all Toyota vehicles sold.

Joseph


There was a commercial on the radio (550AM) this morning for the Chevy Volt, 40 mile all elec range. I was completely blown away. We don't need a single silver bullet. Hybrid is good, plug-in is good, clean deisel is good. Just get them to market and then make them better on an ongoig basis.

Rafael Seidl

@ Jack -

agreed, and it never will be. At least US consumers will have a second fuel economy option once T2B5 diesel sedans hit the market in the next year or two. Toyota's single-mode hybrids are great for city traffic, not so much if most of your driving is at speeds much over 30mph. The GM/Daimler/BMW two-mode hybrid is so expensive it will only be applied to the most gas- or diesel-guzzling base vehicles to make them guzzle a little less. It does nothing to eliminate such vehicles from the product lines.

E85 prodution from corn has an EROEI only barely above 1 once you factor in the fossil fuel inputs in farming incl. fertilizer, feedstock logistics and ethanol refining. In my book, it will never be a convincing green option until sugar cane grown in the tropics or else cellulosic wastes/NFA crops like miscanthus or starch algae are used as feedstocks. Right now, E85 really just a way to undermine the spirit of CAFE and, to lavish subsidies/protectionist tariffs on Midestern farmers and ethanol refiners like ADM.

And although Honda will be introducing the Civic FCV in the US next year - no doubt at a substantial loss and in the smallest numbers required to meet CA ZEV mandate - there is still the issue of how to produce the hydrogen such that that the well-to-wheels balance is significantly better than the existing ICE infrastructure. Steam reforming natural gas doesn't make the cut, and hydrogen from nuclear power produces radioactive waste for which there is still no ultimate repository. Hydrogen from renewables is too expensive for mass market application.

The best bet beyond HEVs and diesels are therefore PHEVs and BEVs. For these can become feasible in high volume sometime - fingers firmly crossed - in the next decade, weight and cost of the base vehicle will have to come down. The idea is to reduce power demand during acceleration and hill climbing, so you can use fewer cells and make it cheaper for manufacturers to meet longevity goals. The upcoming Loremo might be a good base platform for electrification, at least in Europe.

Peter

Hybrid -> Plug-in Hybrid -> Electric

Hybrids are a necessary step in for the world to progress. Clean Diesels are not a good stepping stone for that sequence, they are good for large vehicles though.

Ben

Gasoline ICE -> Hybrids -> PHEV -> EV
Diesel ICE -> ^Diesel Hybrids -> ^Diesel PHEV -> EV

Diesel is not competitive against hybrids, it can be implement in hybrids and increase fuel efficiency both by using a more efficient engine and a more efficient fuel refinement process.

Harvey D

Peter,

It seems the logical path to go.


ICE vehicles should be progressively phased out in the next 15 to 20 years. Hybrids & PHEVs are necessary steps leading to BEVs.

Lad

Diesels are a good alternative to gasoline ICEs for one reason; They help reduce our dependence on foreign oil As stated before and often, There is a certain percentage of diesel and a certain percentage of gasoline produced in each barrel of oil. The U.S. actually imports gasoline from Europe, I think about 20% but don't hold me to it, while producing all the diesel we need, mostly for trucks. Adding diesel ICEs to the mix should help reduce the necessity to pay for transporting gasoline on the high seas and the associated costs of refining and handling.

Paul

Joseph, you say, "The GM/Daimler/BMW two-mode hybrid is so expensive it will only be applied to the most gas- or diesel-guzzling base vehicles to make them guzzle a little less." That is simply NOT the case. There was an article on here just the other day which outlined each of the new Mercedes hybrids that will be coming to market in the next 2-3 years. The new E Class, expected to be out in 2010, is reported to get 46 MGP! That is the same as a Prius... but it's an E Class Mercedes! The S Class is almost as economical. You should do some research before you post.

Roger Pham

Ben posted: "Diesel is not competitive against hybrids, it can be implement in hybrids and increase fuel efficiency both by using a more efficient engine and a more efficient fuel refinement process."

Ben,
Diesel increases mpg ~30%, costing ~1,000-2,000 USD more
Full hybrid increases mpg >50%, costing 2,000-4,000 more
It seems that Diesel delivers enough bang for the bucks.
Combining diesel with full hybrid will raise the cost too much while the mpg gained won't be proportional to the cost increase. The Atkinson cycle engine running in the full hybrid duty cycle is already getting quite close to Diesel's fuel efficiency, if you take into account the higher BTU content of diesel fuel per unit volume.

Diesel is necessary to take advantage of the diesel fraction of petroleum refining, and diesel micro hybrid may justify the extra expense in order to avoid idling.

Roger Pham

Ben posted: "Diesel is not competitive against hybrids, it can be implement in hybrids and increase fuel efficiency both by using a more efficient engine and a more efficient fuel refinement process."

@Ben,
Diesel increases mpg ~30%, costing ~1,000-2,000 USD more
Full hybrid increases mpg >50%, costing 2,000-4,000 more
It seems that Diesel delivers enough bang for the bucks.
Combining diesel with full hybrid will raise the cost too much while the small mpg gained won't be proportional to the cost increase. The Atkinson cycle engine running in the full hybrid duty cycle is already getting quite close to Diesel's fuel efficiency, if you take into account the higher BTU content of diesel fuel per unit volume.

Diesel is necessary to take advantage of the diesel fraction of petroleum refining, and diesel micro hybrid may justify the extra expense in order to avoid idling.

@Doug,
The Prius II manages to increase mpg from ~27mpg combined for a comparable compact car to ~50mpg, a very large % increase, and that's not enough for you?
But don't despair, the Prius III will promise even more mpg gain when more durable battery will be available. Remember that even the BEV won't be able to beat the 2nd-gen Prius' energy efficiency from source to wheel.

Next option is car downsizing, which will make full hybrid more practical due to the reduction in the size of electrical components. Beyond that, car pooling and other means to reduce driving will play a large factor.

Anon Ski Apparel

Paul: We all have been sold nothing but a bill of goods before. How many times have we been shown hype from the auto manufacturers only to be disappointed when a promising development is killed, or a released product that never lived up to its billing?

Until I see an actual Mercedes E hybrid in the wild that can actually reach 46MPG under everyday driving conditions, it is just vaporware.

Nevermind that Toyota isn't resting on its laurels and is continuing its refinement of the Prius-- By the time the projected (but don't hold your breath) supposedly 46mpg S-class hits the streets, imagine what mpgs the new-model Prius will be getting.

middleoroad

Hybrid manufacturers claim impressive gains,but require changing driving style to acheive.Many drivers are not seeing these gains(see my mpg.gov),some are suing.What is the impact of nickel mining?Mine it in Canada ship to Japan build car ship to USA.Li Ion is still dangerous.Electric grid is already taxed and coal plants are choking the northeast.Go with 2nd gen Ethanol from waste and kill two birds with one stone.

Ben

Roger Pham,

The extra expense of a diesel engine isn't really a problem in a serial hybrid with a tiny engine, heck there are already several car companies in Europe making parallel diesel hybrids.
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/09/gm-unveils-opel.html
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/09/citron-to-unvei.html
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/08/peugeot-to-show.html

Anon Ski Apparel

@middleoroad: Remember the mpg ratings are specified by the EPA, NOT the manufacturers. If people are not getting the EPA-specified mpgs, they should be getting mad at the EPA, not the manufacturers.

This whole nickel mining environment damage fiction raised by CNW Marketing has already been discredited-- The amount of nickel used in hybrid car batteries is miniscule compared to the amount of nickel used in worldwide industry. Aircraft jet engines that uses nickel alloys by the ton, nickel in stainless steel, even in COINS minted by the U.S. and Canadian governments all use far more nickel than NiMH batteries for cars. Yet you don't ever hear anyone complaining about those things (especially the COINS!) destroying the environment. Interesting, eh?

Ethanol alone is not going to solve the world's energy problems. The world needs a range of options, and hybrid cars are clearly one of them.

Scott

Eventually Toyota will roll out a hybrid version of its entire lineup. Once the price differential drops to less than $2K, hybrids will get more than 25% of all Toyota vehicles sold.

It looks more like Toyota will introduce a line of Prius models, which makes sense because consumers consider Prius and hybrid as synonymous. I think they should consider a Prius brand, but with Scion and Lexus already present, that is probably a stretch.

Scott

Toyota's single-mode hybrids are great for city traffic, not so much if most of your driving is at speeds much over 30mph.

Ethanol alone is not going to solve the world's energy problems. The world needs a range of options, and hybrid cars are clearly one of them.

There is no silver bullet. There are many constituencies within the driving world, others within the automobile business, and of course others within the energy business. We need a portfolio of solutions to address them all. My driving is mostly stop-and-go. HEV is great for me now, PHEV will be even better, since I pay a surcharge to pull wind onto the local grid. My neighbor does a 120 mile highway commute four days a week. Diesel will be a step in the right direction for him, and he can fill up with B5 or B20 on the other end of his commute.

A lot of good things are happening and better are on the horizon. Nothing is happening fast enough for a lot of us, and some things are happening too fast (e.g. rush to corn-based ethanol). My hope is that, unlike the aftermath of the 70s oil crisis, the current momentum is sustained.

Paul Dietz

What diesel will do, if oil stays at or above current levels, is allow vehicles to run on coal-derived fuel.

hampden wireless

Rafael wrote:
Toyota's single-mode hybrids are great for city traffic, not so much if most of your driving is at speeds much over 30mph.
----------

That is untrue. The Prius achives 60mpg at 45mph EASILY which is 50% faster then 30mph. At 65mph its still over 50mpg which is far better then cars comparably sized. Only at 70+ mph does the prius really take a hit and that is still over 40mpg.

Single mode is not a bad thing. The Prius has zero clutches in its tranny. The dual mode hybrid system has four. Which do you think will be more reliable? The Prius is quite proven now.

jack

Hybrid manufacturers claim impressive gains,but require changing driving style to acheive.Many drivers are not seeing these gains(see my mpg.gov),some are suing.What is the impact of nickel mining?Mine it in Canada ship to Japan build car ship to USA.Li Ion is still dangerous.Electric grid is already taxed and coal plants are choking the northeast.Go with 2nd gen Ethanol from waste and kill two birds with one stone.

Thanks for the laugh.

Ben

Paul Dietz,

We could make gasoline from coal was well.

michel

"We could make gasoline from coal was well."

It´s a good one. The 8.USAAF bombed such attempts in the middle of the 1940s because there were a waste of energy. Or because of something else?;)

The Swedish had some good ideas in this respect:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild:Adler_Diplomat_3_GS_mit_Holzgasgenerator-hinten_rechts.JPG

Ben

michel ,

That what all this research in coal-to-liquid is about, there is a whole collection of articles related to that topic on this very blog: http://www.greencarcongress.com/coaltoliquids_ctl/index.html

Paul

Thanks Roger, but I won't really care what mileage the E Class hybrid gets compared to what the Prius at that time gets because I don't want to drive a Prius. I had one for 6 months and it was not for me. I traded it in for a Mercedes E320 diesel and I now get close to 30 MPG. I see no reason in the world that the upcoming hybrid E Class, which will have a 4 cylinder diesel plus an electric module, will easily achieve 46 MPG. Why so pessimistic?

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