Edmunds Blurs Lines, States Hybrids AND EVs “Struggle To Maintain Owner Loyalty”

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 87

According to Edmunds, electric car owners aren't all that loyal to EVs.

According to Edmunds, hybrid & electric car owners aren’t all that loyal

Edmunds' Tesla Model S

Edmunds’ Tesla Model S

Recently, Edmunds.com issued this press release that seems more than a little misleading to us in the plug-in EV segment:

Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Struggle to Maintain Owner Loyalty, Reports Edmunds.com

Earth Day Analysis Shows Car Buyers Trading in Alternative Fuel Vehicles for SUVs More than Ever Before

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Car buyers are trading in hybrid and electric cars for SUVs at a higher rate than ever before, according to a new analysis from car-buying platform Edmunds.com. The analysis offers a surprising look at how today’s gas prices are drawing hybrid and EV owners toward gas-guzzling vehicles at a much more accelerated pace than in recent years.

According to Edmunds.com, about 22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and EVs in 2015 bought a new SUV. The number represents a sharp increase from 18.8 percent last year, and it is nearly double the rate of 11.9 percent just three years ago. Overall, only 45 percent of this year’s hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle, down from just over 60 percent in 2012. Never before have loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles fallen below 50 percent.

“For better or worse, it looks like many hybrid and EV owners are driven more by financial motives rather than a responsibility to the environment,” says Edmunds.com Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell. “Three years ago, when gas was at near-record highs, it was a lot easier to rationalize the price premiums on alternative fuel vehicles. But with today’s gas prices as low as they are, the math just doesn’t make a very compelling case.”

To underscore the point, Edmunds calculates that at the peak average national gas price of $4.67/gallon in October 2012, it would take five years to break even on the $3,770 price difference between a Toyota Camry LE Hybrid ($28,230) and a Toyota Camry LE ($24,460). At today’s national average gas price of $2.27/gallon, it would take twice as much time (10.5 years) to close the same gap.

Edmunds’ analysis comes at a time when overall sales of alternative vehicles have continued to slide. EVs and hybrids accounted for just 2.7 percent of all new car sales in the first quarter of 2015, down from 3.3 percent during that same period last year. The share of SUVs, meanwhile, has increased from 31.8 percent in Q1 2014 to 34.2 percent in Q1 2015.

By lumping hybrids in with electric cars, the whole analysis is skewed, yet the headlines you’ll see coming from this press release will surely declare electric cars a failure, when in fact it’s the conventional hybrids that are starting their never-ending slide downwards, while plug-ins are being adopted more and more.

There is no evidence we can find of a mass exodus over the past three years (up to 22% in 2015) from electric vehicles into SUVs at all, if anything the loyalty of EV owners to purchase another plug-in is extremely high.

Are you an EV owner who traded in your car for an SUV this year?   Are you today considering getting out of your plug-in for an SUV because gas is cheap?  We bet you aren’t; certainly not 1 in 5 of us.

We also received this quote from Tom Saxton, chief science officer with Plug In America, who agrees with us that the report is unfair in representing the enthusiasm behind PEVs.

“Edmunds’ study includes no data about the trade-in rate for plug-in electric vehicles (PEV).  And because PEVs are not called out separately, no one can make any conclusion about PEV trade-in rates, yet many are doing just that and singling out EVs, not hybrids, in their headlines.”

So at least for now, it looks like we’ll have to endure another round of false ‘electric cars are a flop’ articles.  We hope that soon larger publications will realize they need to draw a distinction between conventional hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles.

Edmunds/PR Newswire

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87 responses to "Edmunds Blurs Lines, States Hybrids AND EVs “Struggle To Maintain Owner Loyalty”"

  1. Omar Sultan says:

    I see that someone wrote Edmunds a big check again…

    1. James says:

      Here’s the deal. Israel bombs Iran’s nuke sites, or Isis attacks Saudi Arabia, both very possible scenarios, and the price of a gallon of gasoline in the West will skyrocket. Even if there is no major upheaval in a major oil producing country, it doesn’t change the fact that crude oil is non-sustainable. It will run out, or supplies will fluctuate eventually. When that happens – hybrids and e-assist car sales soar. Even when prices are relatively low, the cyclical nature of oil prices in a calendar year always sees economical cars selling big in spring/summer and tapering off in fall/winter.

      A couple years back there was a non-news “news” story that Iran had threatened the U.S. that if it strengthened sanctions they would block the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. Although Iran has a “mosquito fleet” of sorts for a navy, and everyone scoffed that it would have an iceberg’s chance in hell of actually blocking anything – the very next day I saw gas prices in my region go up about 40cents/gal! That’s a big leap! As the story blew over, prices decreased nearly the same amount! This is how fragile oil prices are.

      Let numnutz’s everywhere buy their gas hog CUVs and trucks. Let them suffer at the 100-200$s it takes to fill their tanks and breathe the lovely gas fumes while having the privelage of being chained to a gas station and the whim of O.P.E.C. and Big Oil. Not me!

      1. Stimpacker says:

        Err, the big truck/SUV buyers are not numnutz. They are wannabe tough guys/girls.

        1. CP says:

          Or they want a big, comfortable vehicle that can haul and/or tow a lot of stuff.

          1. arne-nl says:

            That’s the minority. Just a lame rationalisation of irrational behaviour based on primitive instincts. You know, make yourself big and loud to scare off others. My cat does that too.

    2. Mike777 says:

      Whenever 22% is bigger then 49% you know something FISHY is going on.

  2. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

    Yes, I saw a bunch of articles quoting this – mostly with a triumphant tone – on my Google news feed today.

    It’s probably worth noting – in addition to the fact that EVs shouldn’t be lumped in with hybrids – that not all hybrids are the same either. There are the hybrids that are optimized bumper-to-bumper for gas mileage. AFAIK, that list contains just the Prius and Insight. There are hybrids “added on” to cars that already had good gas mileage. Then there are the silly hybrids – hybrid systems added to gas guzzlers to get maybe 2 or 3 mpg improvement. I would suspect that drivers of those in the latter category are very unlikely to buy the same type of car again – those cars certainly are distorting the metric. In addition, those in the middle category aren’t likely to be *that* attractive anymore as so many non-hybrid cars are achieving very similar mpg numbers for the equivalent car without the extra cost and complexity.

    I think the focus should be on the pure hybrids like Prius and Insight and EVs – but you know damn well that a large number of pundits and media types celebrate every bit of news that can be seen as anti-EV, so they are happy to distort the numbers.

    I’m sure that amongst the right wing we’ll be hearing these stories repeated for years just like they still repeat the hummer-more-green-than-prius myth from 2006.

    1. scott franco, the evil, greedy republican says:

      Yes, certainly, lets make this political now.

      1. Spider-Dan says:

        One side of the aisle chose to make it political. Just look at the kind of attacks the Volt received, and the sources of said attacks.

        1. scott franco, the evil, greedy republican says:

          I see one attack here, and I responded to it.

          1. Spider-Dan says:

            And that’s fine; if you want to defend the right-wing position on EVs, that’s certainly your right.

            But don’t complain about the issue being “politicized.” The commenters on this site aren’t the ones who politicized it; we simply deal with the reality that exists, in which right-wing media is the exclusive and consistent source of attacks on EVs.

      2. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

        Google the “Dust-to-Dust” study of Prius and Hummer by CNW Marketing and scroll through a few pages of the results. Note which news sources promoted this study uncritically, and continued to do so long after it had been thoroughly examined and revealed to have massive gaps in evidence and logic. Then tell me that I’m wrong about suspecting the right wing media’s motives regarding EV-related news reports. I’m not saying all people on the right wing, but their media is a severe problem regarding EV information.

        That study, by the way, actually was so bad that I’ve wondered if the authors were intentionally testing to see if people would accept results as true if they fit their world view, no matter how poorly the study was written. In that case numbers were presented that were beyond absurd with no justification or external reference whatsoever.

    2. Spider-Dan says:

      Given that the Insight is already dead, you’re really just lobbying to lump the Prius in with EVs. I say it’s simpler to just exclude any car that can’t plug-in.

      1. Mike777 says:

        It could very well be the Insight buyers who are “dumping” it for an SUV.

        I’ve got an Insight, you’d have to be insane to move to the Bulbous Walrus like vehicle of an SUV. But, Honda isn’t selling it’s Excellent Fit EV or Hybrid, which is 50% of Japanese sales.

        Again, a DEALER Problem probably isn’t a “hybrid” problem.

      2. Scramjett says:

        +1 Speaking as a Prius owner, I can tell you that the Prius, like all “purpose built” hybrids really only achieve their mileage by crippling performance. This is why the C-Max faired so poorly in real world mileage. Ford designed it to have good performance and driving dynamics, but that sacrifices the mileage.

        The biggest way that performance is sacrificed with the Prius is that the battery power output is severely limited (something like 36 kW if I recall). This is why the bloody engine turns on when you sneeze!

        I’m done with hybrids. From now on, for me, it’s plug-in or bust.

        1. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

          That’s exactly right. People heard about 60 mpg from the Prius so were given the impression that all hybrids get great mileage. In fact hybrids, by themselves at best improve mileage at best about 10% relative to the equivalent ICE. Consider the Camry hybrid – with a 2.4L gas engine its mileage is a bit better than 10% better than the non-hybrid 3.3L gas engine, but of course the performance isn’t as good as the 3.3L gas engine – under many conditions it’s *almost* as good by using the 2.4L ICE in serial with the electric motor, but still not the same. So, part of that mileage boost comes from reduced performance.

          For the Prius the performance was greatly scaled down to achieve the mileage, as anyone who drives a Prius-back-to-back with the heavier-but-zippier Camry hybrid (which uses the same system) can attest.

          Over time, people figure this out. Hybrids were really exciting when they came out but at this point, 16 years into their product lifecycle, it’s becoming clear that the mileage advantages of hybrids are diminishing in comparison to other mileage improvements of regular ICE cars. The hybrid, after all, has to overcome all that extra weight and the energy they can get from two wheels regenerating electricity just isn’t that much, relatively speaking.

          So I wouldn’t be surprised to see owners of non-plug in hybrids trading in for non-hybrids.

          Plug-ins, however, are a completely different story. I’d like to see the data on that. I suspect that once people get a plug in over 90% stay with plug-ins.

  3. scott franco, the evil, greedy republican says:

    Yes, this is the problem with lumping EVs with hybrids. Since the users think of hybrids as just a more economical gas car, they don’t have a problem going back to a “true” gas car.

    1. TomArt says:

      Agreed.

  4. Get Real says:

    Trust me, the Kook Brothers and their fossil fool allies are spending vast sums of dark money not only to buy elections and political parties, cough, Republican/Tea Party, cough– but also to slow or stop the renewable energy and EV movements.

    1. Big Solar says:

      thats a fact.

    2. Sveno says:

      It isn’t as much as stopping progress. The problem with progress is that it tends to liberate us from central control structures. Religious, monetary, state.

      If you could make your own electricity and produce even electronics not to mention food, then why would you work? Or even need a persistent “country”?

      When you are filthy rich then the only way “up” is raw power over others.

      1. Mike777 says:

        Yes, the Kooks measure of success is how much taxpayer money is transferred into their pockets.

        Look at the Failure of Wisconsin.
        Look at the failure of Republican ideology.
        Everything they’ve privatized costs More Money, but to a for profit corporation.

        The Kooks seem to actually like destroying US education systems, putting students into massive debt. Students are now slaved, or indentured servants to the upperclass.

        It is a literal economic war against the 99%.

    3. Sveno says:

      The digital world for example gave us the gift of effortless and pristine information duplication and transmission. Look how many are fighting to stop this from happening. Copyright is the same thing. Exerting ones views on others due to wishing to stay in power/control.

  5. scott franco, the evil, greedy republican says:

    “Looks like we’ll have to endure another round of false electric cars are a flop articles. We hope that soon larger publications will realize they need to draw a distinction between conventional hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles.”

    So I am going to take a rare shot at this site’s authors here. Don’t take it personal, I *love* you guys.

    I realize you feel you represent *all* plug in cars. But this issue is what happens with trying to treat the entire category with the same brush. There’s a BIG BIG difference between BEVs and cars even as battery intensive as the Volt. And that is, it has a gas tank and an exhaust pipe (even if the Volt tried hard to hide it).

    Ie., lets stop rolling all of the sales figures together please. BEVs, “superhybrids” if you will, like the Volt, and plug ins will do.

    1. Spider-Dan says:

      There exists a category called “automobiles.” This category contains many different kinds of vehicles, including diesel trucks, hybrid SUVs, and plug-in sedans. No one is confused by a site that claims to report on automobile news.

      Similarly, there exists a category called “EVs.” This category contains PHEVs like the Plug-In Prius and Fusion Energi, EREVs like the Volt and i3 REx, and BEVs like the Leaf and Model S. And all of these cars have one big factor in common: they can receive fuel from an electric plug.

      It’s fine to break down details, but separating sales into plug vs. non-plug is good enough for the broad strokes.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Hey Scott,

        We actually had this discussion way back when InsideEVs was just in the planning stage between Lyle(Dennis) and myself.

        In the end, we decided that (at least for the early years) the trade-off was too great overall to continually breakdown sub-classes of electric vehicles into BEV, PHEV, plug-power assist, etc. over more generic terms.

        For better of worse the wider industry (and common person) is only using/understands the terminology of “EV” or “Electric Vehicle” or “Plug-In Electric Vehicle”

        It has been a conscious decision to generalize (and promote) the basic terminology over the more accurate, but far less understood sub categories in articles like this (we do often of course breakdown/use/explain the more accurate acronyms inside the more specific/technical stories)

        …further down the road when market penetration/understanding is higher, that may change. We do admit it is a total catch-22 though.

        1. Lustuccc says:

          Without all hybrids, there would be much less news to talk about no?

          The whole point of hybrids is making us forget that they could have done much much better BEVs at this time being. (like the GM EV1-NiMH, Toyota RAV4-EV and Nissan Altra-EV : all ~120 miles range back in 1999)
          Time isn’t on half solution. It is urgent to shift to renewable sources and pure electrics.
          I would be glad to see a split category of what use gasoline, and what don’t in the montly reports.

          All that use poisonous fossil fuel I could do without… and the climat, our health our wallets want pure EVs, not intermediary solutions to delay the death of oil cars.

          1. Brian Rose says:

            Previous electric vehicles were doomed to fail.

            They suffered from a double whammy of being expensive with short battery lives. No reasonable consumer would purchase them, especially if you consider that gas was $1.20 a gallon back then, and literally everyone expected gasoline prices to stay in that range perpetually.

            I’ve seen the documentaries on this subject “Who Killed the Electric Car” and “Revenge of the Electric Car” and both fail repeatedly to discuss why these older electrics were concept cars and no more. The reason is physics, and you can’t break physics.

            Even when gas was (and will soon again be) $3.75 a gallon demand is relatively sparse. This is after radical reductions in the cost of EVs, radical changes in battery technology (so that it the battery doesn’t experience rapid, permanent range depletion), AND 300% higher gas prices.

            Anyone trumping around the conspiracy theory that electric cars were secretly killed due to collusion with Big Oil simply don’t know much about physics or economics for that matter.

            I own a Chevy Volt, and I absolutely love it, but my education in physics and chemistry makes me laugh at the thought that anyone would waste money on a 1990s attempt at EVs.

            1. Lustuccc says:

              +2500 “concept cars” ? lol!

              And GM took the precaution to completely destroy those perfectly working “concept cars” for a reason… Hiding the evidence.

            2. Lensman says:

              Yup. The EV1 was a test market car, priced far below cost. There is absolutely no way GM could have made money by producing it in large numbers. If it was priced what it actually cost to produce, then very few would have bought it.

              “Who Killed the Electric Car?” has a lot of good points, but it has a lot of propaganda too. Like pronouncing batteries “not guilty” of killing the EV1. That’s an absurd assertion, since we -still- don’t have batteries good enough or cheap enough to enable an EV to compete with a gas guzzler on a level playing field! And lithium-ion battery tech wasn’t even available back in the days of the EV1.

              1. Lustuccc says:

                …and that is why Chevron (Texaco) rushed to buy the bettery patents in 2003. huh huh…

                Ni-MH were cheap and
                “Optional: Nickel-metal hydride battery pack – 26.4 kW hours/77 amp hours (343 volts)”

              2. Lustuccc says:

                ANY car massively produced see his price also much reduced. You know that Lensman, you’re an intelligent person. It’s simple math.

                The EV1 one was ready for mass production. The platform was developed by GM from 1990 with the “Impact” (They changed the name to EV1) It was to comply with the CARB and at that time, every car maker had one ready and sold some in what SHOULD have been a competitive race to provide a LOT of good EVS to the world. But lobbies and cartels preferred to make more profit from ICE cars and comply with the oil companies instead of the law.
                simple math also. Corporations always go with more profit, disregarding every aspect of democracy, fairness, pollution or human life. With some exceptions like Tesla..

                All the excuses you will talk about won’t dismiss the obvious explanation of cartels and profits.

                Meanwhile in the real world, the EV1 was doing fine.

                1999
                “Based on my experiences the last few days, I foresee typical driving ranges with an NiMH EV1 like this:

                freeway commuting with minimal stop and go: 130-150 miles per charge
                city driving mixed with freeway (including “performance demonstrations”): 100-130 miles per charge
                worst case – hard use including driving in the hills: 75-100 miles per charge ”

                16 years later, we still have the same ranges?!?! Something is very wrong here.
                medias glorify hybrids with just a little more range than 5 years ago, we still do NOT have real life 100 miles EVs, and the one company that do not play along with the petro-automobile cartel gives us outstanding cars with 3 times the range of others…

              3. Lustuccc says:

                — That’s an absurd assertion, since we -still- don’t have batteries good enough or cheap enough to enable an EV to compete with a gas guzzler —

                These prices are bloated, we can only speculate. If car makers (and they do) want to NOT sell EVs, thay give them a too high pricetag, and a good pretext is the price of the batteries… That’s what is spread in the media but we actually do not know the real price paid by companies : they never disclose this kind of information.
                Absolutely ALL analysis are based on speculations.
                And again mass production would lower this price, IF ICE car makers cared to mass produce only one normal affordable car like the Corolla, the Cruze or the Civic.
                J.B. Straubel CTO of Tesla told us last summer that mass production will lower the price of the batteries 30%, without even accounting for any technological progresses.

      2. Lensman says:

        Yeah. This “holier-than-thou” attitude of those who insist that PHEVs are not “real” EVs is moving from being merely irksome, to downright irritating.

        If it plugs in, and it has more than just a token number of all-electric miles, then it deserves the label of “real EV automobile”. That certainly includes the GM Volt.

        Also, let’s not forget that “EV” merely means a vehicle with electric propulsion. That includes everything from electric bicycles to diesel-electric railroad locomotives to golf carts to boats with electric motors. It doesn’t just mean plug-in, highway capable passenger cars and light trucks. And it -certainly- doesn’t exclude everything but highway-capable passenger car BEVs!

        1. James says:

          @Jay

          I think that was a sound decision. There just aren’t enough true electric cars on the market, or out doing things, to float an entire website about it and have enough material. As it is – it’s a struggle some days.

          The Volt goes 80-90% of it’s life on electricity, so why split hairs at this time in history? GM spends lots and lots of time trying to split E-REV from PHEV, and for what?! In fact – GM has stated it is going to start up right where they left off when they gave up advertising gen1! Why?! Promoting Volt as a “hybrid that plugs in” makes more sense to a broader group of potential buyers.

          All the other websites report on everything with a plug. Hybrid sites report on EVs, etc. It just makes sense at this point in time. Perhaps a small niche wants to go to “EVONLY.com” or something, but it’s a small, small niche. Keep up the great work!

          1. Jay Cole says:

            Thanks James,

            It isn’t a perfect answer to be sure, but as you say, there has to be some compromise. Those media enterprises covering ‘hybrids’ specifically from a decade ago have certainly been forced to adjust as well.

            I will say it is a lot easier publishing meaty plug-in stories today than 5-6 years ago in the GM-Volt.com/Nissan LEAF days…hitting the ‘one-a-day’ story count was pretty difficult back then. Not sure myself personally could survive another 2007-2010 “EVs are coming” period, lol.

            Now we put out a dozen or so a day here at IEV, and we honestly leave another dozen or so on the cutting room floor – so in a sense, that is a good sign the plug-in market is advancing. I’m sure someday there will be a mainstream “pure EV” or all “PHEV” media outlet…but it won’t be us, we like the all-in-one packaging, (=

          2. Mike777 says:

            There aren’t enough batteries to preach a Pure EV solution at this time.

  6. SparkEV Driver says:

    I wonder how a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid getting traded in for a Rav4 EV would count?

    I don’t see myself ever going back to non-plug in as long as I have a plug in electric option.

  7. David Murray says:

    If anything, people are probably just wanting the larger vehicles and there is a complete lack of hybrids and EVs in the larger vehicle classes like SUV and pickups. Which amazes me to this day that no manufacturer is catering to that market, at least in the USA.

    1. TomArt says:

      That is my assumption, as well. VIA Motors is trying to do it…GM did a half-hearted job a while back that didn’t last…while Ford and Toyota have the tech to pull it off but have not attempted to do so.

    2. shane says:

      GM sold a hybrid large SUV for a while, but it didn’t sell well so they dropped it. Which, oddly, made sense as essentially everyone seemed to hate it. (Both free marketers and environmentalists – of course for completely different reasons)

    3. Brian Rose says:

      Well Tesla is coming out with the Model X this year, so it seems Elon Musk may have had some good foresight on this one.

      Will the Model X be the only EV SUV on the market? I honestly don’t know, so if someone could answer this I’d be highly grateful.

      1. Lensman says:

        The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV crossover (CUV) is a pretty popular vehicle in Europe, altho not sold in the USA.

        I think that the Model X crossover will be the only CUV/SUV that’s a pure BEV, and it looks like that may last for at least a couple of years.

  8. Chris O says:

    Guess it dawned upon the oil industry; Sometimes a dealer of an increasingly substitute sensitive product has to lower prices for a while to keep the addicts hooked.

    Worked like a charm.

    1. TomArt says:

      I was thinking the same thing!

      1. James says:

        Washington State is usually around #3 in high gas prices because of a cartel that exists in the Pacific NW. Nobody talks about it and I dare you to find a story about it on the internet ( the story I found took 20 minutes of Googling and was from a newspaper that does not exist anymore from 1992! We have refineries in state and are the closest state to the Alaska Pipeline, yet we suffer from this monopoly of suppliers. First in gas prices is Hawaii, for obvious reasons, then southern California.

        I saw $2.92/gal for Regular Unleaded, yesterday, while many stations around my home have hit the $2.80s. Watch all this hollering about low hybrid car sales hoopla taper off quickly about June. It always is the same ole thing. While the high-low price cycle may be a bit lower this year, the price of crude is going up, just the same.

        Automakers have that conflict of interest between selling their gas pigs and promoting their efficient cars mostly made due to government MPG mandates. That won’t change either. This is why Toyota has always advertised Prius as “green” and good for the planet. GM should take the same approach with Volt – and mention how owners get 60% better gas mileage than Prius owners.

  9. TomArt says:

    I agree with the problems in reporting – InsideEVs should dive into this data and sort out things like plugs vs. no plugs.

    Based on what I’ve read over the years, the cars with plugs (Volt, Leaf, Model S) seem to have a very high loyalty rate compared to the historical average for non-plug hybrids.

    The popularity of non-plug hybrids appear to have a greater sensitivity to oil prices – more people flock to those because they can’t afford the gas, not because they really want a hybrid. Once gas is cheap, then a substantial percentage of buyers drop them like hot potatoes.

    1. James says:

      Isn’t that weird? I mean, I see it every day. They say Americans have a 3 month memory of high, painful gas prices. In 2008 my brother swore he’d sell his gas monster RAM Hemi pickup truck if gas prices ever went down from their $4.25/gal prices. When prices went down he amazingly forgot the expletives he related to his truck and to this day, owns the beast!

      “Addicted to oil” is an understatement. Notice how the American fullsized truck has morphed into the American behemoth-so-tall-you-need-built-in-ladders-to-reach-your-stuff-in-the-back, towering trucks? What used to be called “midsize” trucks now are as big as fullsize trucks a decade ago. Notice how midsize cars like Malibu and Fusion are morphing into Impala-sized big cars? Gladly, there is lightweighting going on, but still – Americans love their big iron, and when gas prices drop, automakers are all-too-happy to provide the heavy metal.

  10. ggpa says:

    “about 22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and EVs in 2015 bought a new SUV”

    What about the other 78%????

    1. TomArt says:

      It’s called “propaganda”, this time by selective reporting…it’s not a lie, it’s just reporting the facts in a way that makes it sound more appealing to a particular point of view.

      They could have said, “Only 78% of people who traded in their hybrids and EVs in 2015 bought a brand new hybrid or EV, compared to 81.2% during all of 2014”. It’s the same fact, even using some of the same language (like “only”), but it has a different effect than reporting the low percentages that tell the same story.

    2. Alan says:

      “Overall, only 45 percent of this year’s hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle.” So, 55 percent – 22 percent = 33 percent bought a conventional vehicle that was not a SUV.

      I really don’t see a reason to not believe this article. But a larger understanding requires looking at additional statistics. It’s already been pointed out that statistics for hybrids and BEVs are not broken down. Another is that the majority of BEVs that are out there have been purchased in the past couple years. Many people who would trade in a BEV at this point in time are doing it with a relatively new car, and may have gotten it for reasons of cost, not environment. People who are content would likely not be trading in yet; their car is still new!

      If people did not properly evaluate whether an EV suits their situation, I can see them getting burned. I plug in at home, don’t need to drive more than 50 miles in a day all that often, have access to another car for that if I need to. It’s great for me. If someone is dependent on public charging, they have difficulty getting a guaranteed spot, and they are up against the limit of their car’s range all of the time – I can see them getting frustrated. I suspect some people did not assess their situation adequately before their purchase.

  11. Lensman says:

    “By lumping hybrids in with electric cars, the whole analysis is skewed, yet the headlines you’ll see coming from this press release will surely declare electric cars a failure, when in fact it’s the conventional hybrids that are starting their never-ending slide downwards, while plug-ins are being adopted more and more.”

    Hmmm, that’s disappointing. I’ve come to expect better of Edmunds.com.

    Mild hybrids in general are disappearing from the market. New Federal standards for fuel efficiency have pushed auto makers into making their gas guzzlers more fuel efficient. Most mild hybrids (not including the Prius) only got a few MPG better than the straight gas guzzler version of that model, so I say good riddance to ’em.

    But it’s hardly a surprise that many or most of those who bought mild hybrids aren’t buying another, since fewer models are now offered for sale! Duh…

  12. JRMW says:

    Although I agree that the reporting on this stinks, the article does bring up an important point:

    for EVs to hit mass uptake they need to be very price competitive with comparable ICE vehicles in an OBVIOUS way.

    it’s not enough that their lifetime operating costs are lower… they need to be very obviously cheaper to the most basic of consumer.

    People will put up with a Prius when gas prices are high and they feel that $4/gallon cost every 2 weeks. But they won’t do it when they can get a much larger more powerful auto for $2/gallon gas.

    This elucidates the importance of getting battery costs down.

    1. ggpa says:

      +1 on “for EVs to hit mass uptake they need to be very price competitive with comparable ICE vehicles in an OBVIOUS way”

      That is why I love the low cost leases, because it is easy to explain to somebody that they are driving an EV for the same amount they used to spend on Gas.

  13. Nice writeup Eric Loveday.

    My question for Edmunds is what percentage of trade-ins were “Hybrid SUVs”? Were hybrid SUVs included in both the up and down percentages (double accounting)?

    The fact is Edmunds fail to provide any real data, as all numbers are percentages without context … making impossible to verify, or to compare to any other data period.

    Very low quality of journalism on Edmunds part. Shameful really!

  14. daniel says:

    I agree this is lumping together EVs and hybrids to make it sound like both failed. But even so, it is a fair expectation that there should be a setback to both when gas prices fall. That is – people who buy the car to save money, will readjust.
    The right take on this is to take the ‘physics’ approach, that is to say, with long term trends, will EVs and hybrids be able to compete and win over ICE cars on price, even given the lower price of gas?
    As long as the 5% – 8% improvement in battery technology continues, it is a matter of ‘if’, not ‘when’.
    It was estimated that in 10 years we will hit $100 / kWh. At that point it will be game over for ICEs.

  15. Joe Hays says:

    I leased a 2012 Volt for 2 years and regretted having to turn it back in. I should have taken a 3 year lease instead of a 2 year lease.

    I am planning on leasing a 2016 Volt for three years so I am NOT one of those supposed 22% making a “mass exodus”.

    By the way, how can anyone say (with a straight face) a 4% increase (from 18 to 22%) is a “mass exodus”?

  16. James says:

    I don’t think an Edmunds article will deter anyone from buying an EV or encourage anyone to switch. If someone wants a Tesla, they aren’t looking at an Escalade, and I doubt anyone is trading their Leaf for a Jeep. The article is disingenuous and lazy, but the anti-EV crowd has been disingenuous and lazy for years, so not much has changed. Me, I’m letting my Volt go off lease in January and replacing it with a Tesla. Who wants to go back to a gas station?

    1. Murrysville EV says:

      “I doubt anyone is trading their Leaf for a Jeep”

      I was going to do this. But I test-drove a Renegade and it was awful.

  17. Murrysville EV says:

    I guess I’ll be the one to buck the chorus here.

    When my Leaf’s lease is up this fall, there is almost no chance I’ll get another.

    Why? It’s not because of cheap gas. It’s because I want more range in an EV, and the 150-200 mile EVs aren’t available yet. I do not want to be trapped in another lease, particularly on a vehicle like the Leaf which has depreciated 65% in 3 years. And I want an EV whose battery doesn’t degrade at 5.5% annually, and gives me only half the range in the winter. Sorry, I don’t have Tesla money.

    So yes, there is a chance I’ll get a CUV, but possibly a hybrid. But when I do, it’ll be years before I get another EV, because Nissan missed their chance to snag more customers with a better product when all their leases expire.

    We can talk all we want about improving battery technology, but the fact of the matter is that the Leaf 1.0 will have been in production – essentially unchanged – for 6 years until Leaf 2.0 arrives.

    I don’t live in Compliance Car Land, and none of those are 100+ mile cars anyway.

    1. ggpa says:

      Have you considered extending the lease on your current Leaf for a year? I am told the monthly rate for that is very reasonable?

      1. Murrysville EV says:

        Nissan has offered this – and I have considered it – but I would only do it if they reduced my payment dramatically. This is very unlikely.

        The car has been through 3 winters, and its battery is down 13% now, and would be down 20% by the end of that 4th year. In the depths of this past winter, my actual (not displayed) range on a full battery (not recommended) was 36 miles. Yes, 36 miles. At the 80% recommended fillup, my range was about 30 miles. Another winter will reduce these numbers further, and make the car almost unusable.

        The medium-range EVs aren’t supposed to arrive until 2017-8, so I’ll probably turn in my EV membership card for a long time.

        1. Brian Rose says:

          I look into leasing a Volt then.

          Not sure if you’re mostly city or highway driving for your commute, but I get between 48-55 miles per charge when I do pure city driving on my days off.

          This is when the EPA stated range for my 2013 Volt is 38 miles per charge, and I’ve got 48,000 miles on this vehicle. So not only do I have zero range degradation, but I’m actually getting between 25-30% HIGHER than the stated range about 48,000 miles.

          My daily work commute is 70% highway and I get ~43 miles per charge on that route. The key is to put it in “L” mode, which is auto regen when you let off the go pedal.

          Especially since you seem to have cold winters I would never recommend a LEAF since, in order to save on costs, Nissan didn’t install a liquid temperature management system. The Volt holds up much better for battery lifetime due to Chevy developing a liquid temp management system life the Model S.

          Add to this that the Volt only uses a small portion of its total battery pack, and you get a much longer life cycle out of a Volt battery.

          I got my 2013 Volt used for $16,400. The triple whammy of low gas prices, upcoming release of Gen2, and the first leases expiring (increasing supply) makes this a superb opportunity to get a Volt at a ridiculous discount.

          There are Volts with 100k miles that have 80% of their miles in electric mode and have experienced zero battery range degradation.

          I honestly love my Volt, and as much as I want to instantly switch to a Model III when it is released I may actually just keep this car for 10 years and purchase a “true” EV once the prices come down even more… Or just wait for gas prices to hit $6.00 a gallon and sell it for a profit.

          1. JeffP says:

            My situation was that I had a 3-year lease on a 2012 Volt that ended in Feb 2015. I really did not want to stop driving the Volt because is was the first car in a long time that I actually enjoyed driving. I did not see noticeable degradation in the battery’s range over the 35,000 miles that I drove the car. The problem was the price to buy-out the Volt after the lease was a lot more than the street value, so I turned it back to Chevy. Leased a 2015 Volt with all the bells and whistle and warning buzzers that my 2012 did not have, and my monthly lease payment is less than what I was paying before. Oh, and when the 2016 Volt is released, I plan on trading in my wife’s car and getting a 2016 Volt. I don’t know if I’d call that loyalty, it is just a case of sticking with what works for me.

          2. Murrysville EV says:

            Unfortunately, a Volt is too small for me at 6’6″. I’ve tried a couple of them at the auto show, and it’s no go. And since I routinely carry passengers, the Volt is especially cramped for them. And Chevy made the situation no better for the 2016 Volt with their fake 5th seat and low roofline.

    2. James says:

      I hear you on the range issue, and this is a piece that is missed by detractors. Electric driving is awesome, and given the choice of a long-range EV and a gas car for similar price, I think EV wins hands-down every time. Like you say, the Renegade drives like garbage, and no gas car compares with the smoothness of an electric drivetrain.

  18. Andrew says:

    This report could be changed to “One fifth of Prius buyers have switched to an SUV.”

    The Prius is the absolute bulk of “hybrid & EV” purchases and is highly dependent on high gas prices for sales levels. It’s also very long in the tooth and due to be replaced with a new model soon.

    This article is clickbait.

  19. ClarksonCote says:

    “So at least for now, it looks like we’ll have to endure another round of false ‘electric cars are a flop’ articles”

    Looking on the bright side, we were able to put to rest the false 200 mile flop of the Bolt EV a few days back.

    It would be nice if Edmunds were as accommodating with corrections and fact finding as InsideEVs. Alas, I won’t hold my breath with respect to Edmunds.

  20. John says:

    Last week I traded in my 2014 Focus Electric for a 2015 C-max energi. I loved to Focus and loved plugging it in but will be selling the house and was not sure about available charging living in an apartment. I could never go back to a car without a plug so the energi will suit my needs regardless if I can plug in or not. Kind of like an SUV with tons of space but is incredibly efficient gas or electric.

  21. Omar Sultan says:

    Part of Edmund’s schtick, or a least Ms Caldwell’s schtick, is to lump hybrids and EVs together and then declare the whole category in trouble.

    Last year, she declared “hybrid and EVs” sales were in decline, when, quite obviously EV sales were doing nothing of the sort. Looking at how some of the more popular EVs did on the last Consumer Reports Owner sat ratings (in the electric/hybrid section), the %age of owners that said they would definitely buy their car again: Tesla-98%, Volt-85%, Fusion Energy-84%, and LEAF-77%. One other data point, of 900 respondents to the last PlugIn America owner survey, 98% said their next car would be an EV/plug-in.

  22. Scott Franco, the greedy republican says:

    Wow, that was fast. I got done reading this this morning, got in the car to go to work, turned Rush Limbaugh on, and sure enough, he was talking about how people were trading in their EVs and how the “million car EV” statement of Obama is dead.

    PS. Rush does not represent all republicans.

  23. Josephus says:

    Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds responded to several of these complaints in comments to the press release:

    “Based on our transaction data, we actually see lower loyalty rates for PEVs than hybrids. For instance, when looking at the most well-known and best selling PEVs, Volt and Leaf, they have a lower loyalty rates then the traditional Prius model.

    In Q1 2015, 28% of people trading-in a Leaf purchased another advanced drive train (Hybrid or PEV) vehicle. Volt is 35% while Prius (liftback) is 52%.”

    Jessica Caldwell
    Director, Industry Analysis
    Edmunds.com

    I asked her to give us a the full year stats for 2014.

    If her data does hold up, we might not like it, but it is what it is. My contention would be that consumers are stupid. In a post I wrote I calculated that gas would have to come down to $0.55/gallon to equal my monthly savings in gas, oil changes, and monthly payment for a full EV. Edmund’s breakeven calculator only looks at gas savings. Neither of our calculations takes into account maintenance beyond this.

    I explain where I get $0.55/gallon from at http://www.creativegreenliving.com/2015/04/how-much-will-you-save-by-switching-to-electric-car.html

    Gas economy: 24 MPG vs. electric vehicle economy:.276 Kilowatts/mile at $0.12 / kWh (electricity cost). Also factors in 5000 miles between oil changes at $50 per oil change

    Formula = (Miles / MPG*Cost of Gas) – (Miles * kW/mile * Cost of Electricity) + (Miles / oil change frequency * Cost of oil change)

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Seen those myself. I think there is a bit of sandbagging/distraction happening in that quote in particular.

      With the current Volt heading out (and the LEAF shortly too), it seems reasonable to expect the trading in of those (mostly leased) vehicles – by people who know the EV landscape as owners – would not be to get another same/old tech EV. But rather to differ and/or wait.

      I’m sure if we look at the “loyalty” of Chevy Volt owners on trade-ins this coming August, a month before the next gen arrives it will be even moreshockingly low. Conversely, I would suggest the “loyalty” will sky-rocket in October as Volt 2.0 inventory fills the pipeline…regardless of the price of gas.

      I myself have a Nissan LEAF I lease (commercially) due up soon, and I WON’T be replacing it with an ‘old and busted’ gen 1 EV when I know the ‘new hotness’ gen 2s (’16 Volt, LEAF, Tesla 3, etc.) are coming out.

      Personally in my situation, I will pick up another petrol car (even though I already have one to fill my occasional extreme driving needs), then when the next gen EV is out later, I’ll trade in my older gasser for the EV. So it won’t be an EV-for-EV transaction, but my loyalty remains steady.

      The issue is with the article’s premise that hybrids AND EVs are being traded in for SUVs due to the low price of gas. Ms. Caldwell is stating the trade-in loyalty (based on the Volt/LEAF) is low without examining why, and more importantly she is not saying those specific plug-ins buyers are picking up SUVs in lieu of them.

      1. Murrysville EV says:

        You’ve described my sentiment well. I’m still happy with the EV experience, but I don’t want another Gen 1 EV. So I’ll either get nothing to replace the Leaf, or get an ICE or hybrid until a good Gen 2 EV arrives.

      2. Draighven says:

        You get a +1 for using a men in black reference.

      3. wavelet says:

        “Personally in my situation, I will pick up another petrol car (even though I already have one to fill my occasional extreme driving needs), then when the next gen EV is out later, I’ll trade in my older gasser for the EV. So it won’t be an EV-for-EV transaction, but my loyalty remains steady. ”

        Jay, your EV credentials are unquestionable, what with having co-founded the site 🙂

        However, sorry, but as far as the Edmunds story goes, if you do indeed go from from a 1 EV & 1 ICE household to a 2-ICE household, you are indeed affirming their conclusions, and it is sobering.

        The next-gen EVs will be available for purchase probably ~2-2.5 years from now…
        That’s a long time.
        Also If you’ll then sell your older, long-trip ICE, you’ll presumably still need a long-range vehicle (unless charging infrastructure improves amazingly by then) so the ICE vehicle you buy soon t oreplace the Leaf will also need to be a larger, long-range vehicle, no?
        Why not replace the Leaf with a PHEV instead of an ICE?

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Well, I actually have 2 EVs (1 commercial, 1 personal), and an ICE.

          Honestly a PHEV (such as a current gen Volt) isn’t a sound financial (or fuel efficient decision) for me.

          Last year I logged about 60,000 miles in my EVs, and only ~5,000 on the ICE…but those ICE trips were mostly north of 250 miles a shot, so a PHEV would have only mitigated maybe ~500 miles of gas driving, but also at a net lessor MPG.

          In regards to waiting 2 to 2.5 years for a replacement for my LEAF…well, I don’t think so. In fact, you might want to swing by the site next Tuesday for to hear about something we think is incoming very, very shortly, (;

    2. CP says:

      55 cents a gallon? Try $2.76 a gallon in Seattle. This includes the cost of electricity, battery replacement, and Washington State’s $100 annual EV fee.

  24. Rex Wilson says:

    Edmunds is against all types of environment friendly vehicles. Read their review of Tesla Model-S. They have very little to say about the performance, elegance and beauty of the car. They constantly criticized hybrids and plugin.

    This is just 1 of the news media which probably takes money from Oil companies and talks low of green vehicles.
    Car and Driver is another such media.
    Just ignore them.

    1. Murrysville EV says:

      Edmunds had its long-term Model S drivetrain replaced 3 times, but they also set a cross-country time record with it.

      They weren’t all negative about it, but their readers went ape when it appeared Edmunds was concealing detrimental information about the vehicle.

      1. Lensman says:

        Exactly. If you read Edmunds’ entire series about their long-term test drive of the Model S, it often raved about how great the car was, and overall was quite positive. It’s just that the few negative things got repeated all around the Internet by Tesla bashers.

        I don’t think Edmunds.com is at all biased against EVs; the article in question seems to be an outlier. They are, however, realistic about them. EVs suffer from “early adopter” limitations (with the sole exception of the Tesla Model S). EV cheerleaders want us to ignore the limitations, so naturally they don’t like Edmunds.com’s balanced approach.

        1. CP says:

          I think Edmunds pretty well eviscerated the Tesla Model S with their accurate coverage of the milling issue.

          1. Get Real says:

            Well CP, being that the Tesla drive unit problems have been fixed and Tesla not only has the highest rating of any car but Tesla service also has the highest rating of any OEM then I think it is Edmunds and your anti-Tesla arguments that have been eviscerated.

  25. Darlene says:

    I can’t speak for other drivers, hybrid or EV, but this EV driver couldn’t be happier. i absolutely adore my car, I won’t buy another ICE car…I’m pure electric and I couldn’t be happier. Edmunds doesn’t speak for me!

  26. EVer says:

    I wouldn’t even walk by an SUV, let alone buy one? The hell?

    An SUV is big ugly waste of vehicle and gas LOL

    I know of no one who has traded in their electric vehicle for an SUV haha

  27. daniel says:

    One issue here might be the lack of a compelling SUV plug in.

    Model X would fix that.

    1. wavelet says:

      The Model X will still be a fullsize car, and cost the same or more than the S…
      A crossover version of the 3 is more like it, but that’s pretty far away. I’m hoping we’ll see a BEV version of one of the mid-size CUVs from VW, GM or Kia first.