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.
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%.
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.
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.