IDTechEx says that sales of hybrid cars in the USA collapsed from 3.2% of car sales in 2013 to under 2% in 2015 as Americans responded to the sharply reduced oil price. However the oil price will recover eventually so commentary that it heralds the death of hybrid vehicles is wide of the mark. Indeed hybrid car sales outside the USA were sharply up.

Nonetheless, hybrids, or more precisely these strong hybrids, are under threat from pure electric vehicles. For example, pure electric buses have just overtaken hybrid ones in sales in China. Partly this was triggered by China stopping subsidies for hybrid buses that do not plug in because these cannot operate with long electric range in city centers to reduce local emissions sharply. A pure electric large bus is a far simpler way of meeting regulations than a plug-in hybrid one with long pure electric range so most of the bus leaders in China are prioritizing the pure electric route. See the IDTechEx Research report, Electric Buses 2016-2026 for the full story.

Beyond legislation increasingly favoring pure electric, these powertrains are often gaining market share on merit as the benchmark for range of affordable models is now doubled at 200 miles with 300 miles promised soon, this being achieved by improving many things such as lightweighting, aerodynamics and powertrain efficiency not just improvement of batteries. That squeezes conventional hybrids.

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