Edmunds: Electric And Hybrid Owner Loyalty Sinks To All-Time Low – We Explain Why

2 years ago by Mark Kane 79

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: Edmunds.com (source: Green Car Congress)

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: Edmunds.com (source: Green Car Congress)

2016 Nissan LEAF

2016 Nissan LEAF

Edmunds.com is back revisiting the topic of EV and hybrid loyalty, after year ago some concerns were articulated.

According to the study highlights, EV and hybrid loyalty falls to all-time low.

Edmunds.com: Follow-up to 2015 Earth Day Study Shows Alt-Fuel Trade-ins Are More Likely to Go Toward a SUV Purchase than another EV or Hybrid

Well, the lower oil prices for sure affected the the consumers choice when purchasing new cars, but grouping EVs (all-electric and plug-in hybrids) with conventional hybrids makes more harm than good when illustrating the market.

Data shows that only 27.5% owners of hybrid and plug-in cars would again purchase hybrid and plug-in (down from 38.5% year ago).

While normally we bristle defensively when we see any data that would seem to go against the conventional wisdom that the plug-in segment is still growing rapidly and that EV owners do have the highest loyalty rate historically, this study actually rings true. We’ll explain:

It is all about the demos. An EV purchase traded-in/upgraded today is ~90% purchased before Q1 of 2013 (3 years ago). That means of the 70,377 plug-ins that were sold in the US before Q1 2013, some 63,720 of them (or about 91% of the whole) were the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF or Toyota Prius.

In the first half of 2015, the Toyota Prius PHV was still in production, Nissan had yet to announce a 107 mile edition was arriving, and the next generation Chevrolet Volt had just been introduced.

By the second half of 2015, all threes vehicles were for the most part unavailable for consumers to buy, causing the numerical trend to start to fall off.

During the first quarter of 2016, the Prius PHV was fully out of production/no inventory (waiting on the recently revealed Prius Prime plug-in), the next generation Chevrolet Volt was only available regionally in limited quantities for the first 2 months of Q1, and the Nissan LEAF? Well, lets just say the demand behind that car has shifted to “future” all-electrics with the US public being hammered with news of the Chevy Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3 – thus few former LEAF owners are deciding to buy a new 100 mile all-electric, when the 200 mile EVs (for about the same price) will start to arrive in just ~7 months.

Tesla – If you have bought a new EV at Tesla Motors over the last 3 months (which was the number 1 seller by a long shot, almost ~30% of the segment), you probably realized pretty quickly that this isn’t your dad’s dealership, and if you had an EV to “trade-in”, you didn’t do it here.

So, in the case of plug-in trade-in numbers, we will just go ahead and put an (*) asterisk beside any data and say ‘just wait until next year’.

Press release:

Only 27.5 percent of all hybrid and electric vehicle trade-ins in 2016 have been applied to the purchase of another hybrid or EV, according to a new analysis from car shopping destination Edmunds.com. The rate is a precipitous drop from the 38.5 percent 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.

But the trend back toward traditional vehicles is not having the negative effect on the environment that one might expect. According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the average fuel economy of cars sold in the U.S. in March was 25.3 mpg, up 25 percent from when the institute started tracking this number in October 2007.

“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,” says Edmunds.com Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell. “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.”

‘From One Extreme to Another’
A detailed analysis of Edmunds’ vehicle trade-in data tells a story of many hybrid and EV owners jumping from one extreme to another. In fact, Edmunds found that a hybrid or electric trade-in is more likely to go toward the purchase of a SUV (33.8 percent) than another hybrid or EV. The trend is even more apparent when looking only at EV trade-ins – 25.7 percent of EV trade-ins went toward the purchase of a SUV, compared to just 4.8 percent that went toward another EV.

Vehicles Purchased in Connection with a Hybrid or EV Trade-in

 (Select Segments)

Segment

2015

2016*

Hybrid or EV

38.5%

27.5%

SUV

29.0%

33.8%

Truck

4.1%

5.3%

Compact/Subcompact Car

8.9%

12.1%

Luxury

11.1%

11.5%

*2016 data consists of 5,724 hybrid and EV trade-ins captured through the end of March

“The overwhelming popularity of SUVs trumps just about any other trend in today’s market,” says Caldwell. “SUV sales are up 22 percent 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.”

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 percent of hybrid and EV trade-ins this year went toward compact crossovers. By comparison, only about 1.4 percent went toward a gas-guzzling purchase of a large SUV or crossover SUV.

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

source: Edmunds.com via Green Car Congress

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79 responses to "Edmunds: Electric And Hybrid Owner Loyalty Sinks To All-Time Low – We Explain Why"

  1. SparkEV says:

    “Alt-Fuel Trade-ins Are More Likely to Go Toward a SUV Purchase”

    I don’t think it’s lack of availiability of next gen EV. If they’re buying SUV instead of gas sippers, it suggests they want bigger cars. If outlander PH and Pacifica PH are available, they may (or not) still stick with plug in.

    But second biggest trade is for compact car. They might be waiting for next gen EV, though why they go for subcompact gas while SparkEV lease is cheaper than all gas cars might suggest they really are moving away from EV/PH. It would be interesting to see the stat for CA (low cost SparkEV lease), and if they are indeed moving to gas or if this is just because there aren’t any low cost EV options. I suspect it’s the latter for this group.

  2. David Murray says:

    I don’t think that buyers of a typical hybrid are going to be that loyal. While a hybrid may be more advanced than a regular car, more efficient, and more “green” it still doesn’t provide anything to the driver in terms of a change of lifestyle. An EV or PHEV does. And that is usually what makes it hard for people to go back to gas.

    1. Brave Lil' Toaster says:

      Maybe I’m just an EV fanboy and all, but I just took my Leaf in for some body work last week, and I was given a Toyota Corolla for a loaner.

      I wouldn’t call it so much a “change in lifestyle” as a radical change in driving style. Push the Go pedal a little bit after a red light in the Corolla, and it jerks forward uncomfortably. Need to accelerate to climb a hill or pass a truck? It asks you “Huh? What? What did you do that for? Oh, you mean you want to go faster? Well, give me a second to switch to a different gear, and then we might be able to do that”. Then it lurches back into yet a different gear after a minute.

      Maybe it’s just the Corolla has an awful 3 speed automatic. But I found that it took a lot of adjustment, and it had nothing to do with how often I plug in.

      Nevermind the fact that I spent as much on gas in a week that I would normally spend in a month in electricity.

  3. Someone out there says:

    Are people really that short-sighted? They are making an expensive purchase to be used for many years based on what the price of gas is today? Sadly they are.
    Gas has been low for a little while but oil prices are going up again now. Just a year from now gas is going to be significantly more expensive and then they sit there with a gas guzzler.

    1. Rational Thinker says:

      I’ve heard 64% of Americans still believe Noah’s Ark was a true story.

      ‘Nuff said….

      1. Larry says:

        And that’s relevant how?

        1. super390 says:

          The promise of cheap gas is part of the American religion. It’s like God’s promise to not flood the Earth again. Whoops.

          1. james says:

            No, I think it is we have a very short attention span about the price of gas and when… SQUIRREL!

      2. Someone out there says:

        Yeah that is pretty sad. And this book of fairy tales says that the magic sky daddy gave the earth to the people to do what they want with so why care about the environment?

        1. Rightofthepeople says:

          Actually The Lord calls on man to be good stewards of the resources He has given to us, including the animals, the plants, and the earth. We are charged with taking care of His creation. Just FYI.

          1. arne-nl says:

            Roy Spencer does not believe in climate change because that would mean the Earth isn’t resilient to whatever we humans throw at her and that would mean that the Earth is not perfect and, since God created the Earth, God himself is not perfect. ‘Believing’ in climate change is therefore blasphemy. According to his interpretations of the book.

            You can talk for yourself only. Christians are not a single homogeneous group and the book allows any interpretation to suit your preferences.

            1. SparkEV says:

              Roy Spencer understands that climate change is occurring. Where did you read that he does not? He uses satellite data, and that shows the temperature change is not as high as ground measurements. To paraphrase him, every sane scientist understands that man made climate change is occurring, just differ to what degree.

              Now it’s the climate change alarmists who are cult like. Science says nothing about disasters to humans for events that will slowly progress through span of decades, yet the alarmist “believe” and “we must repent with EV, lest we be damned” and “heretic deniers who blaspheme should be cast to scientific death (eg. Roy)”, language of the irrational cult.

      3. Mark C says:

        Not only do I believe Noah’s Ark to be a true story based simply on God’s word, the Bible, but it was found and the evidence shown on a History Channel documentary.

        Pretty sure the Titanic actually sank, too.

        1. Aaron says:

          Are you on the side of our building management that says that God put enough oil on this earth to last until the Rapture? That’s their justification for not putting in EV chargers.

      4. mr. M says:

        Please explain why you find it unreasonable that a flood could have happend thousand years ago in middle east and some people build a boat?

        There are geology signs that a flood in that specific time at that specific region happened. And no, i don’t think that a global flood happened. Fossils found in mountain regions can be explained by tectonics and science too.

        Beliving in a flood is different from beliving in the whole therory that god formed the earth 5000 years ago from his hands, which i would clasify as being a little bit extreme.

        For scientific article regading the flood see: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/evidence-for-a-flood-102813115/?no-ist

        1. Samwise says:

          Interstingly there is only one thing capable of creating a flood of that magnitude…

          Climate change…

          Go figure!

    2. Speculawyer says:

      Yes and yes. It is quite disappointing.

      I will have no sympathy for gas guzzler drivers when the gas price goes up.

      But fortunately for them, gas prices will likely remain relatively cheap for some time to come. Animosity between Iran and Saudi Arabia will keep the oil price low. And if the price rises, the frackers can get busy.

      1. super390 says:

        I was very worried that the frackers would take root in the American political system. But the incredible increase in earthquakes in OK & KS in just three years or so has changed the game. The quakes bring the insurance lobby in as enemies. There’s also concern about damage to the all-important Cushing oil reserve.

        So after the fracking pioneers go broke the next wave will be cautious and face extra expenses. Other countries, of course, will have the good sense to not even start.

        1. Rightofthepeople says:

          Just curious, do you also blame fracking for recent earthquakes in Chile, Japan, California, and Tajikistan? Is it possible something else is behind an increase in earthquake activity worldwide?

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            The possibility that something other than fracking is the cause of frequent earthquakes in Oklahoma, of all places, is vanishingly small.

            I hadn’t heard about earthquakes in Kansas, but Mr. Google suggests some have been felt in Southern Kansas. Here in N.E. Kansas, I haven’t ever felt one, nor seen one reported on the news.

            1. Rightofthepeople says:

              Vanishingly small? I typically enjoy reading your posts because, unlike some others, you tend to stick with the facts regardless of your personal opinion. However on this point we must disagree. Now, I am no expert on either fracking or earthquakes (not sure if you are), but here’s what I know to be true.
              1. There were earthquakes in OK before any fracking
              2. There are earthquakes all the time in places where there is no fracking
              3. There is fracking in places with no earthquakes
              4. There has been in increase in earthquake activity globally, both in frequency and severity (this may only be my perception based on the 24//7 news cycle and availability of information now vs 20 years ago)

              Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all suggesting fracking can’t be the cause of increased earthquake activity in OK. What I am saying based on the points I listed above, is that there would seem to be other forces at play when it comes to earthquake activity. I have also noticed that frequent users of this site like to blame the O&G industry for everything possible, it’s almost a knee-jerk reaction. If there were a way to link O&G activity to AIDS or Zika I’m sure it would be discussed here.

          2. SkyDaddy says:

            You’re establishing yourself as quite the science denier. There has been quite a bit of research correlating local fracking to increased local earthquake activity.

            http://kfor.com/2015/08/04/gov-mary-fallin-acknowledges-direct-correlation-between-earthquakes-and-disposal-wells/

          3. arne-nl says:

            Oh boy, what shoddy reasoning. Straight from the climate denial playbook thingy.

            Reminds me of the loony lord Monckton proclaiming “There has been global warming on Mars! And there are no SUV’s on Mars! So SUV’s can not cause global warming”

            1. Rightofthepeople says:

              SUVs don’t cause global warming, and I’ll bet you agree with me on that. Consider this, what if every SUV on the planet was a Tesla Model X, would we have global warming? And if we did, would you blame it on the SUVs?

            2. SparkEV says:

              If the entire US disappeared over night, how much less warming do you think it’ll result by end of the century? Based on current trends, about 2/10 of a degree!

              Why? China and India have 8 times the population. Even if per capita emission is 1/2 that of US, we’re still talking about 4 times US. As they get more prosperous, you can be sure they’ll emit more. Now add to that the rest of the emerging world and your SUV will be insignificant.

              Far more significant is to have all those emerging countries use SparkEV from clean energy sources that’s also cheap. Unfortunately, only natural gas qualify for low cost source of energy at the moment. SparkEV would be the best choice for EV as the best bang for the lowest bucks EV. Also unfortunately, it won’t be available.

              1. mr. M says:

                Wikipedia, data from 2011 (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_gr%C3%B6%C3%9Ften_Kohlenstoffdioxidemittenten#Emissionsmaximum_nach_L.C3.A4ndern)

                Percentage of World emissions:
                1.) China 26.4%
                2.) USA 17.7%
                3.) India 5.3%

                So if we eliminate USA emission the global emissions would go down by 1/6 which will surely help a lot.

                1. SparkEV says:

                  That data is from 2011. To say that China, India, Africa, South America, or even parts of Europe will stay the same level as 2011 for eternity is nonsense. One should extrapolate increase in their emissions as their economies improve. Then the share of US becomes much smaller.

                  I say 1/2 of US per capita, but in realty, it will be much larger as their manufacturing is more emission intensive. Google is your friend in finding the trend to present and extrapolation, though I don’t know how much to trust the data from those countries.

                2. SparkEV says:

                  Actually, 1/6 is about right for 2011 level. Assuming 2 degree rise overall, 2/10 degree is 1/10, and that’s probably true when you factor in increased emissions in the future from developing and soon to be developing world.

  4. Anon says:

    Time for Model Y…

    1. Mxs says:

      This is about present times, not 5 years or longer from now ….

  5. ggpa says:

    “25.7 percent of EV trade-ins went toward the purchase of a SUV, compared to just 4.8 percent that went toward another EV.”

    And 100 percent of EV owners who did not trade in are still driving the same EV as before …

    The problem is their methodology. By only looking at people making a change (trading in their EV) they get a skewed view.

    Most EVs in the USA are only a few years old, and there is currently no compellingly better product available, so I expect most EV drivers to just stick with what they have right now.

    Likewise most Volt 1.0 drivers probably retained their cars when Volt 2.0 went on sale.

    1. Nick says:

      I wonder how leases affect the numbers. Aren’t most EVs leased?

      1. ggpa says:

        True, and that probably makes their statistics even less useful. I assume this analysis from Edmunds does not track lease returns, or people extending leases or …

        For me the bottom line is that they err by extrapolating one activity (EV trade ins) and presenting that as if it represents EVs as a whole.

  6. abasile says:

    I doubt these stats capture LEAFs, Volts, etc. traded for new Teslas.

    1. mr. M says:

      Is a switch from Leaf to Model X counted as change from EV to SUV category or EV to EV or counted EV to 0.5*SUV and 0.5*EV?

  7. SparkFiatOwner-M3reserved says:

    Also have to ask — why the trade; more likely it’s “family grew” and nothing to do with EV because Affordable large BEV/PHEV is nonexistent.

    Bolt will help change the statistics — we would be part of that probably to upsize the Spark.

  8. Jay Cole says:

    I am actually part of this demo. I don’t want to generalize and say everyone who bought an EV “back in the day” is necessary more informed/patient, but for sure they have already owned an EV (or 9) for quite awhile, and I think (on the whole) they are more likely to understand the EV horizon and be more patient for what is coming next.

    For my family we usually have a couple EVs and a long range/family hauler gasser.

    Last year we decided to finally dismiss our original 2011 LEAF (002), but with the anticipation for the Bolt EV/LEAF 2.0 on the horizon, we did not replace the LEAF with a new plug-in (just 1 EV atm).

    In 2016 or very early 2017 (depending on availabilities) however we will have both a BEV trade-in on a new BEV, plus a ICE trade-in on a Outlander PHV/Pacifica Hybrid (haven’t decided yet). With the new products arriving now (specifically capable PHEV utility), I suspect that we have bought out last “all gas” car in 2015.

    Again, not saying this is representative of anyone else’s thinking/actions, just throwing it out there as an example.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      You have to admit it is very ILLUMINATING that the runner of assumedly the largest “EV interest group” purchased an ALL GAS car as late in the game as 2015.

      This indicates product just isn’t available at the price you want.

      It also indicates for John Q. Public, there is going to have to be the combination of high value, plenty of large enough product, and high reliability, before EV’s make a major impact in any part of North America where it isn’t heavily incentivized.

      I think I’ve bought my last non-plug in back in 2004. But I think it obviously helps to be YOU rather than me. If I had announced I bought a 100% ICE 11 years later, the magpies be jumping all over me.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Well, like many families of more than 1 driver, I’m not the bottom line when it comes to all family auto choice…I can only drive one car at time, (=

        But if you needed a long distance utility/hauler or a 6-7 person van in 2015 (or were told you do, lol), you didn’t really have options in 2015.

        I will say on a technical level the ICE is registered to the wife, the last non-EV I actually signed my name to was a good ~7 years ago, (=

        1. MTN Ranger says:

          Same situation here. We had to buy a new family hauler last year and ended up with the 2015 Nissan Murano. Unfortunately, no plug-ins in this class are available in the US yet. Luckily it gets much better MPG than our previous SUV which averaged 17/25. We’re now getting 23/30.

        2. Phr≡d says:

          I hear ya’, the superior half is unwilling to give up the:
          AWD
          HAULING
          extreme comfort
          of her suhhv..

          @ 6cyl & 6sp, we get a thrilling 25mpg on Real 93 premium (note for midwesters, when you quote your MPG, also note if Gasohol as 10% of your mileage just went to switchgrass if it is, lol)
          We’ve driven all, and Tesla X Won her over, but not in time-frame for finish-line (hurray Up wif MY ≡ Elon!)

  9. przemo_li says:

    But the data is also true.

    General trend of buyers preferring SUVs over sedans is still strong.

    However unlike headlines-hungry edmundus, Sedans =/= EVs. Or rather no longer Sedans =/= EVs. X and Outlander and XC90 will serve that market in this year….

    But still stats will show huge “disloyalty” of customers. 😉

    1. Rightofthepeople says:

      That is true, but it’s only one set of data. Another is to look at pure numbers of plugin sales (including leases). Based on the trend on the monthly Insideevs sales report, it would seem 2016 is setting up to be a record year, with possible 150k units. This while the overall new car sales market in the US is flattening out a bit and may even decline a bit this year. 2016 may finally be the year plugin sales break the 1% barrier.

      1. przemo_li says:

        Yup. And 2015 for EU was like 60% increase vs USA 10%.

        Model selection do matters and show that its NOT EV vs but one body style versus the other.

        More body styles coming to USA => more sales. (And the death to the misunderstood “cheap prices hurt EVs”)

  10. Mxs says:

    I’d rather keep one long haul purely ICE car and one New BEV. Most likely Bolt. This will probably not happen until late next year.

    I don’t think I will be paying anyone extra for hybrid in the near future. It still is not making any sense to me as transitional technology. Low oil prices and some early bad hybrid implementations from many has killed that market in my view. The hybrid train has left the station …. Plug-in hybrids have still some life, like in Volt implementation, especially for any families who get by with one affordable car.

    1. SparkEV says:

      Yup! Best hybrid is BEV + gas van/SUV/truck.

      1. G2 says:

        LEAF + Prius works for us.

        1. Alain says:

          Leaf plus toyota tacoma ?

          1. Ian says:

            LEAF + Xterra.

            1. Just_Chris says:

              LEAF + bus (public transport) + very occasional hire car (about 3-4 per year)…… if you need me I’ll be about 50 miles from where I live claiming moral high ground.

              1. arne-nl says:

                Zoe + bicycle 🙂

                1. Phr≡d says:

                  My daughter WAHhhnts your Zoe, lol (she already has the bike, and MiEV that she’s not crazy about-tried to export a Zoe from Brussels, NO GO)

  11. G2 says:

    Is Edmonds getting some of that Koch propaganda money?

  12. Dave says:

    Shameful article (by Edmunds).

  13. NiceTry says:

    Edmunds has transactional deals with car dealers. They make money for every car sold, or dealer lead through their Price Promise tool. They have become an extension of the car dealer network, in order to make themselves relevant. And like many car dealers, they’re not going to push electric vehicles. I can tell you from time spent at Edmunds, that no one in editorial seemed to care about EV’s. And, they insist on grouping Hybrids with EV’s – which just makes them look ill informed, and behind the times.

  14. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

    It would be interesting to see the numbers after the Georgia LEAF lease turn-ins were removed. Those leases were essentially free given the $5k tax credit which, unlike other states, applied fully to leases. So the people getting those cars were not in any way typical EV buyers (certainly not EV fans or early adopters, in contrast to everywhere else), and the numbers of EVs sold were disproportionately from Georgia.. With the Georgia EV credit killed in 2015 almost all of those lease endings would result in turn-ins for another car.

    The other problem here is the term “SUV”. You’ll note they don’t list crossovers, wagons, or sedans larger than compact. In that context, “SUV” can mean anything from a Subaru Forester to a Ford Extinction.

  15. super390 says:

    So we’re back to the problem, what will it take to kill the monster truck/SUV duopoly that dominates the North American market?

    I’m going back and forth on this every day, because there are so many variables here and so many disappointments with the Big 3. It’s just not easy to store enough energy to move one of these beasts through the atmosphere at over 60 mph. I’ve argued that hybrids have the best near-term chance, because it seems the presence of the piston engine is part of the culture that sells these vehicles. Ford’s original big SUV development relied on a French consultant who studied the market and came to the conclusion, “If you put a gun on top, it will sell better.” However, it’s the demand for size that creates all the other problems.

    We should ask the question, why is this cheap-gas era selling SUVs instead of, say, Cadillac Eldorados and Buick Roadmasters and Mercury Turnpike Cruisers (what a name!)? Every practical argument for an SUV falls to the fact that those arguments should have been valid in 1959, even more so since America had a larger rural population then. Upper middle-class needs should not be very different. Families are actually smaller, though fatter, so why do they need 8 seats instead of 6? People richer than that can buy multiple vehicles anyway.

    I’m asking this question because I think there’s a psychology of shape at work; that the mood of consumers today leads them to want ridiculous proportions that can’t possibly be massaged by aerodynamics. Whereas, as unlikely as it seems, you could have built cars with the proportions of those old-time big sedans and gotten good total drag figures – what would be radically different is how the low roofline and long body are shaped. The Tesla Model S is the 1961 Lincoln Continental of our time, the flashy luxury sedan packed with the latest technology and the highest horsepower. Yet the American-made luxury sedan market has been overthrown by the luxury SUV market. No one is using Escalades to haul lumber from Lowe’s.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      It’s not all psychology and/or cultural conditioning in Americans. Shorter people prefer taller vehicles because they let them see better when driving. That’s a very practical reasons. And with women on average being shorter than men, it’s no surprise that many women prefer driving SUVs, minivans, and even pickups.

      Furthermore, American women these days are more likely to be heavily involved with, or in control of, the decision about which car to buy.

      Now, re psychology: I was rather taken aback to read, quite a few years ago, about a buyer focus group in which women who were prospective car buyers expressed a desire for a car which made them feel safe… which means a big, tough-looking car… in other words, an SUV. As an American I find it distressing to think fear plays such a big role in our culture, but if so, that would certainly help explain our national obsession with guns.

      1. arne-nl says:

        Try riding a bike on a highway and you understand that this type of fear is a primordial one, hard coded in the oldest and most primitive parts of our brains. Nothing will ever change that.

        1. SparkEV says:

          I did ride the bike for few years. Looking back, they were the scariest years of my life (also the healthiest). It’s not only the cars you have to worry about, but the gangs and thugs and other human threats that are far more hazardous. And if you’re a female, there are even more nutjobs to worry about.

          Therefore, no biking for commute unless I’m in a pack. Safest would be with some who are armed (eg. Police). But if you’re in a pack, you can simply carpool instead.

      2. Rightofthepeople says:

        That study shouldn’t be surprising at all. Women are generally much more safety and security minded than men, while men tend to be more willing to take risks. I’m not slamming women at all here, just stating a generalization that more often than not tends to be true. You see this play out in the cars women buy, in their politics, and even in how they choose a spouse.
        As for the gun culture, I’m a big part of it, so we could have a detailed discussion on that but I’m pretty sure that would take us deep into the weeds of off topic land. 🙂

  16. JakeY says:

    What happens if you separate hybrids from the EVs? I remember another recent report and it was the hybrids that are getting hammered, while plug-ins are still growing (and BEVs in particular even faster than the plug-in trend).

    I think it is because hybrids are heavily influenced by gas prices, while plug-ins are not nearly so.

  17. Michael Will says:

    The Kochs $10m at work ? I don’t know anybody who drives a BEV and would trade it for anything less than a plugin hybrid. I certainly would not want to buy another pure gas car in my life, once you tasted the freedom of not visiting gas stations do oil changes and smog checks and the smoothness and acceleration of electric drive trains going back to gas is as attractive as replacing your iPhone with a landline (makes sense, cost per month so much less right?)

    1. Marc Franke says:

      Strongly agree!

      1. Aaron says:

        Every time I drive my LEAF, I’m amazed at how smooth it is. Every time. Having to go back to an ICE puts shudders down my spine.

  18. Bill Howland says:

    Speaking of Kochs, does anyone know for sure if an “X” is heavy enough to get a
    “Gas Guzzler 6000 pound tax credit” as a business vehicle?

  19. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I have a lot of respect for Edmunds.com, but if they’re measuring lack of “loyalty” to buying an EV based on a buyer trading in a mild hybrid for a gasmobile with higher fuel efficiency, then their analysis seems rather pointless.

    Yes, sales of mild hybrids have declined over the years. And I say good riddance to them, since most of them were just greenwashing, with an MPG rating only a handful of miles better than the pure gasmobile. The objective is reducing the number of gallons of gas a driver consumes, and that can often be better done with a highly efficient gasmobile than a mild hybrid.

  20. georges says:

    I think the real reason Americans are switching to big gas guzzlers now is because gas is cheap.

    The CAFE MPG requirements are a joke. I’ve been reviewing them and I want you to know what the 2025 MPG requirement is for an F 150 pick up.

    It is 23 MPG on the EPA sticker.

    So GM and Ford damn near can make the 2025 CAFE standards NOW.

    If you’ve wondered why we don’t have a plug in pick up now you know.

    If you wonder why American pick ups get bad gas mileage than look no farther than CAFE

  21. FiatSparkLeasee-M3Reserved says:

    My understanding that the Model X DOES qualify for the business tax break with its loaded weight to be 6000#. I forsee a lot of real estate agents with Model X in their future.

    Seeing more of them in SanDiego now finally.

  22. Joe says:

    This “Second generation” effect of buyers waiting for new EVs like Leaf Mk2/Bolt/Volt Mk 2/Mod3/ i3 MK 2 / e-Golf Mk2/ etc. is most likely even understated in terms of the data. Sales figures alone allow for little interpretation without asking customers.

    But then marketing psychology helps a little. Those who already have an EV in their consideration set (potential cars to buy) probably know about the upcoming 2nd Gen. and have that in theit mind, but require a little more confidence/confirmation of that being the right choice. Hence, they wait for product announcements andfirst test rides (or just trust Tesla) and purchase then. So with presently low gas prices it is likely that people will hold out with their ICE just a little longer for truly versatile EVs to arrive, even if their current needs might be actually be fulfilled by present offers, never neglect used-sale vehicle value as part of the customer decision.

    Those who presently don’t have an EV in their consideration set are likely only to be triggered to consider them once these EVs are available in tests and advertising, i.e. not quite yet.

    Then again others are in the market for bigger car utility, a factor currently underestimated in the EV market. Apart from range (only Tesla currently offers the right level of range utility but is too expensive for most) there are many other factors: trunk size, passenger seating, and charging options ranking among the most important. Current EV trunks are not as good as in gas cars (only exception Tesla M S), the rest are awkwardly shaped/smaller than gas car equivalents (despite better design options), i.e. there is not a single affordable EV wagon/estate offer available today. These customers have to go for the second best option and buy a Toyota Prius V /Prius+ in order to get that space. And again, that generation is now outdated and people will be holding on to them. Same for the Toyota Auris Hybrid Sportwagon.

    Seating options are similarly misrepresented. The Model X is the only EV with seating for 7, the Model S can do that but sacrifices trunk space in return. Volt seats only 4 (I mean seriously, GM!), Bolt not out yet, and Nissan Leaf, i3, e-Golf, and Kia Soul EV seat 5 comfortably, but are 1st generation (See above).

    Charging options are similarly only developing as of the moment and many people that have the charging options at home or work (at least in Europe this is the biggest issue) already have an EV, hence there is even a degree of market saturation. And others that don’t have these options, will need to be waiting for longer range + quick charging networks or developing charging options for those living in multi-home buildings.

    So I think the market is naturally exhausted for a moment, apart from maybe the luxury (that is currently: Tesla) segment, and will only kick off once the second generation cars are announced, available and testable.

    Also, I think, experience is trump in EV buying. I would like to see more manufacturers to offer cheap weekend renting options/product demonstration events so that there will be some chance to try this out before spending the money. In that regard, Tesla has pretty much nailed it with their Apple store like product demo shops, but more is needed in consumer education, especially from mass manufacturers (Nissan, GM/Opel, Kia, VW, Renault coming to mind here).

  23. arne-nl says:

    How many SUV’s/trucks/gas guzzlers were traded in for a Hybrid/EV? Does the article mention that too?

    1. mr. M says:

      Interesting thought. And if 5% of SUV traded in switched to EVs, that might be the same absolute number as 36% switching from EVs to SUVs.

      Kinda hard with statistics to interpret them.

  24. bro1999 says:

    I’m not sure if my recent acquisitions were included in the numbers, but I turned in my leased C-Max Energi in March of this year.
    What did I replace it with? A 2016 Chevy Cruze Limited.

    Why did I lease a Cruze? First, they were crazy cheap last December (zero down, $80/month for 24 months). #2, the Cruze is just a placeholder for the Bolt EV. It was the cheapest bridge to the Bolt.

    So while officially, I did swap my C-Max for a Cruze, the stats don’t tell the whole story.

  25. Nix says:

    My two comments about the Edmunds piece:

    1) This doesn’t track at all people who are still holding on to their first gen EV’s/PHEV’s because they actually like them. Their numbers are only for people who have actually gotten rid of their car.

    2) They don’t track how many people gave up their SUV just to get a first generation EV or PHEV in the first place. So the SUV numbers may just reflect the strong market need for reasonably priced PHEV SUV’s.

    Previous owners of SUV’s, who are going back to SUV’s after owning a Leaf or Volt isn’t a sign of loyalty, but of a lack of choices in the PHEV/EV market.

  26. Nix says:

    Third comment: 400,000 Tesla Model 3 reservations may account for why some of these folks dropped their Leaf or other EV for something else while they wait for their M3 to be built.

  27. Murrysville EV says:

    Model 3 reservist here…

    I won’t get another Leaf, period. Loved the car, but its resale, battery management, and dealer support were terrible. At the moment, I’m just driving our minivan, waiting for the Model 3 to arrive.

    My 13 Optima Hybrid is nice, but drivability is poor. The Kia Niro is on my list, but I’m looking for a smooth drivetrain even more than stellar fuel economy.

  28. ModernMarvelFan says:

    How many of them are former Prius owner now getting something else?

    How many of them were former Nissan LEAF lease holder who opt for larger crossover?

    How many of them were former Volt owner who traded in for a midsize SUV/crossover?

    It is lack of choice and low gas price that caused this problem.

    SUV/Crossover segment has literally no choice for hybirds or PEVs, especially in affordable segment. So, this isn’t surprising at all.