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Only 27.5% of all hybrid and electric vehicle trade-ins in the US in 2016 have been applied to the purchase of another hybrid or EV, according to a new analysis from car shopping destination The rate is a sharp drop from the 38.5% of hybrid and EV trade-ins in 2015, and the findings reinforce a trend first identified last year by Edmunds that owners of alt-fuel vehicles are returning to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles in greater numbers than ever before.

Edmunds’ analysis found that a hybrid or electric trade-in is more likely to go toward the purchase of a SUV (33.8%) than another hybrid or EV. The trend is even more apparent when looking only at EV trade-ins—25.7% of EV trade-ins went toward the purchase of a SUV, compared to just 4.8% that went toward another EV.

This trend is not an indictment of the quality of these cars—hybrid and electric vehicles tend to be equipped with some of the most sought-after technology on the market today. This is an economics trend, since today’s low cost of gas no longer makes it worth paying the price premium of hybrids and EVs. And there are so many fuel-efficient vehicles on the market today that environmental concerns weigh less than they might have in years past. When you’re buying a vehicle that can get over 30 mpg, you can still say you’re doing your part to help the environment.

— Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell

Vehicles purchased in connection with a hybrid or ev trade-in. 2016 data consists of 5,724 hybrid and EV trade-ins captured through the end of March. Data: Click to enlarge.

Most of those making the switch from alt-fuel vehicles to SUVs are opting for the most fuel-efficient sub-segment of compact crossover SUVs. Edmunds found that 16.4% of hybrid and EV trade-ins this year went toward compact crossovers. By comparison, only about 1.4% went toward a gas-guzzling purchase of a large SUV or crossover SUV.

The overwhelming popularity of SUVs trumps just about any other trend in today’s market. SUV sales are up 22% in the last five years, and almost every other segment has suffered as a result. It’s especially true for hybrids and EVs, which generally don’t offer the size that today’s shoppers crave.

—Jessica Caldwell

Edmunds’ trade-in analysis comes at a time when overall electric and hybrid sales have struggled. The alt-fuel category saw a 10% drop from Q1 2015 to Q1 2016, while the overall industry saw a 3.3% lift during that time. Plug-in hybrids, however, have shown strength. A successful redesign of the Chevrolet Volt and the introduction of some new models such as the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron and the Hyundai Sonata Plug-in have helped the segment’s sales jump more than 40%, from 7,652 sales in Q1 2015 to 10,932 sales in Q1 2016.



Very low fuel price (in USA) may be to blame.

At the same time, HEVs, PHEVs, BEVs and FCEVs sakes are going up in EU?


Could it be that the majority of the trade-ins are from people who think they made a mistake buying an EV in the first place?
BEV’s and PHEV’s are too new to have large numbers of trade-ins due to the age of the vehicle.


Can't blame current slow charge, short range, BEV owners not to want to buy another one.

However, many (very pleased) HEV owners are going for a second (new) generation unit.

New Prius 2016 (and other Toyota HEVs) are selling very well in Asia, EU, Canada and many other countries.


Battery Range and lease contracts, I'm guessing!
200 mile EV should improve the parity with ICEVs.



Make it 350 miles or about 500 KM (all weather) at an affordable price ($10K above equivalent ICEV) and many more potential buyers will switch and stick with BEVs.

The study is flawed. It groups conventional hybrids, whose sales have been declining, with plug-ins, whos sales have been increasing.



You may be right on this one. HEVs and PHEVs are interim technologies and will progressively be replaced by BEVs and FCEVs.

Limited range from most EVs is not conductive to buying a second one. Who wants to stop 30 to 60 minutes every 100 milles to recharge?

This could change with future 5-5-5+ batteries with 500+ KM range by 2025 or so or with near future 500+ KM range FCEVs.

TESLA may reach this extended e-range before with 120 to 140 kWh battery packs but the initial cost may be too high for the other 98% or 99%.

Tesla is achieving nearly 500 km with 90 kWh batteries now.

GM will prive the widespread popularity of 200 mile range BEVs in 2017.


Not on cold windy snowy days, when range falls to under 220 miles. TESLA's Model 120D and/or 140D may do it by 2020 or so?

Recharging a 140 KW battery pack quickly may take longer unless chargers are upgraded to 280+ KW. Both are doable but may cost more?


" Very low fuel price (in USA) may be to blame. "
Blame? Why not blame insanely expensive cost of Hybrid/EV's?
They don't compete on refueling/distance they don't compete on cost of ownership. Remind me what is the purpose of an EV is, environmental? Do they include the cost of power creation and battery disposal along with making the chemistry?
I started following EV's over 10 years ago and could not wait for the day of their arrival, now that they have arrived as rich peoples toys or guilt relief, I really feel cheated.
Less parts was supposed to lead to cheaper and more economical cars. Yeah.. That didn't even come close to happening. Then I was told to wait until batteries achieve volume production. That didn't happen either.
In short this is just not working out unless you have money RICH and want to make it LOOK like you care and be COOL

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