Friday, January 21, 2005

Hybrid cars: Why sales are growing at a slower pace.

Every year 15 million new vehicles are sold. Last year 88,000 hybrid cars were sold in United States. This year the projected figure for sales of hybrid cars is 220,000 as per estimates done by J.D. Power and Associates. Why people are not willing to buy hybrid cars in large numbers? Lets take a look at some of the possible reasons:

1. Speed. Hybrid cars are not so fast as cars that run on only gas. Why? Technology
Hybrid cars do not have high speed as in gas only cars. They run on battery assisted small engines. Theoretically, I am not sure if hybrid cars could match the speed of the gas only cars in near future.

2. Not enough advertisements/promotion for hybrid cars.
You start your TV sets or listen to the radio, you get a lot of ads for monster, gas
guzzlers suv and cars run by only gas. The ads ratio could be 1 in 10 for hybrid cars as compared to general cars.

3. Lack of awareness.
Govt. is trying its best to promote hybrid cars by making public aware of the benefits for hybrid cars. California and Virginia are allowing hybrid cars in car-pool lanes though there is no federal approval till date for such policy. However, is this enough? Why so delay in approval of such policy. As I think, the following steps could be taken:
a) Federal approval for different incentives for people buying hybrid cars
b) Heavy tax incentives for hybrid cars buyers
c) Higher registration fees for purchase of non-hybrid vehicles.
d) Free parking for Hybrid cars
e) Set an example by replacing all the state owned cars to hybrid cars

4. Fuel prices are high but manageable.
This could seem vague but I am of the opinion that increase the prices of the fuel
to something like $3+. I know I would not have many takers for this but can't help. Extreme steps taken now could prove beneficial tomorrow.

5. Lack of Choice
If a person wants to buy a hybrid cars he has got very less choice as of now. He
has to select between a few. Now, if hybrid cars will not go neck to neck with general cars, it will be difficult that carmakers would speed much in research for hybrid cars due to less demand. Now what about something like state sponsored research for hybrid cars.


Blogger Steven said...

While I agree with most of your post, item one is incorrect. There is no technical reason that hybrids can't be as fast or faster than conventional internal combustion engine powered vehicles. There seems to be a perception that they are slow, but this isn't really the case. The hybrid Accord is faster than the standard V-6 version. Really performance oriented hybrids haven't been brought to market yet, but they will be. Think of hybidization as electric supercharging.

A point you missed is that current hybrid production is gated by parts availability. This will improve as suppliers become convinced that this is a real business opportunity.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the last guy the cars that they are making now are meant to save gas and be cheap and aren't made for speed quite yet

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason only few amounts of Hybrids are sold is that there is not enough production. For example, the Prius has a 2-6 month waiting period, the waiting alone decreases sales but the fact remains that almost all the Prius's in the US are sold before they get to a dealer.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Sir Lance said...

Exactly, the only reason I haven't gotten a Prius yet is they just don't have them to buy? LOL, they say all these numbers about how few Hyrbrids are being sold, but not only have they done poor advertising, but they are not even making enough to keep up with the demand.

10:44 PM  
Blogger hybridblogger345 said...

April Hybrid Sales in US More than Triple from Year Before, Almost Reach 21,000
Led by Toyota, which alone accounted for 13,690 units sold, combined sales of hybrids in the US reached 20,974 in April, more than triple the number sold in April 2004 (6,832).

The Prius had its best month ever, posting 11,345 units. The Lexus Rx400h, which came to showrooms in the middle of the month, racked up 2,345 units.

Demand for the Honda Civic Hybrid pushed sales of that model to its strongest showing of 3,466 units. The Accord Hybrid climbed to 2,023—its best to date. Sales of the ultra-efficient Insight also benefitted, climbing up to 90 units, the car’s best performance in a year.

Ford’s Escape Hybrid also posted its own best performance in its 7-month sales history, with 1,705 units sold.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you said that hybrid cars are too slow compared to conventional cars.

Did you mean simply that they have a lower top speed? Or did you (also?) mean that they don't accelerate as much?

Both would be significant, but I think the acceleration issue might be more significant.

I think that the power-to-spare that conventional cars have is a significant attraction. It's one of the many factors that makes driving as enjoyable as it is.

If hybrid cars don't have teh same kind of acceleration (I think that they don't -- is that right?) then one obvious way to level the playing field is to put a cap on the acceleration rate of all conventional cars.

To go one step further, do NOT put any such cap on hybrid (or other non-conventional) cars.

That should help develop the market for future-cars.

Think of it: suddenly, hybrid cars could be much sexier than every other car on the market just by virtue of the fact they they are the ONLY cars that can go 0-60 in less than (insert figure here) seconds.

Sexy sells.

11:38 AM  
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