US Hybrid And PHEV Sales Growth Rate Outpaced BEVs in 2021

While BEV purists like to claim that the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV is dead), in fact in the US the dual-powertrain EVs are alive and well — and like BEVs, are also seeing strong growth in sales.

BEVs do in fact dominate in US EV sales (driven mostly by sales of the Tesla Model Y and Model 3), with full battery electric models outselling PHEVs in 2021 by 2.7 to 1 (473,426 to 173,804), according to data from IHS Markit via the Auto Manufacturers Alliance Advanced Technology Sales Dashboard. But while on a much smaller base, PHEV sales increased YOY 156% to 89% for BEVs. And perhaps even more significantly, regular hybrids also outpaced BEV sales growth 95% to 89% — but impressively on a base amount twice that of BEVs.

Alternative Powertrain YOY Sales 2021 versus 2020-chart-2

PHEV’s share of total EV sales in 2021 increased to 26.9% from 21.3% in 2020, while BEVs share of EV sales declined to 73.1% from 78.7%.

BEV-PHEV-2020-vs-2021-chart

While sales of BEVs (89%) and HEVs (95%) nearly doubled in 2021, both alternative powertrains actually lost sales share to PHEVs — which saw a sales share increase of 4.4 percentage points to declines for BEVs of 1.5 percentage points and 1 percentage point for HEVs.

Alternative Powertrain Sales-2020 vs 2021-chart

And from 2011 through 2021, PHEVs have accounted for 34.7% of EVs sold in the US. Stated another way, nearly 35 out of every electric vehicle sold in the last 11 years is a PHEV — and yet the vast majority of our public and private infrastructure dollars is going toward primarily supporting sales of BEVs and DC fast charging infrastructure.

While 2021 saw really strong growth from PHEVs, 2022 will likely see BEV sales outpacing PHEVs simply due to the much higher number of new BEVs becoming available in the US in 2022. Current EVAdoption estimates have 22 new mainstream BEVs becoming available in the US in 2022, versus only 4 mainstream PHEVs. One of the keys to PHEV growth will be how many PHEVs Toyota brings to the US.

Loren McDonald

Loren McDonald

3 Responses

  1. Hi,
    I bought a 2021 Toy Rav-4 XSE PHEV. I live in a Town surrounded by Boston on 3-sides. The Town has about 10 charging stations in its municipal parking lots. I am about 500′ from two stations. The juice is free, but you pay the meter parking rate. So $3-$5 parking for a full tank – takes 4.5 for a full charge. I pretty much drive for free (+parking) because most of my driving is City. But it rides great on the Highway and has B’s (0-60 in 6 seconds). When using gas alone on HWay (when there’s little juice left) it gets good mileage too, if you don’t go very fast.
    The only problem is Charging Station Uncertainty! I use Chargepoint for my local charging. My condo bldg has 60 units, no stations. But traveling I don’t find many on Chargepoint in New England. QUESTION: I have to use Chargepoint, but are there other apps that have more stations. I just retired and want to a lot of traveling in it but I don’t want to use only gas. Suggestions? Tx.

    1. Danny, there are several charging apps that will help you plan your trips and find the right chargers for your vehicle. They include PlugShare, Chargeway, and ChargeHub, among others. My personal favorite is Chargeway (disclosure the founder has become a friend) because you input your EV model, select your preferences and then it will only show you chargers where your EV can charge and that meet your preferences.

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