By on January 26, 2015

2016-Chevrolet-Volt-2

By the end of Q1 2015, PHEVs are expected to take 1 percent of the overall U.S. domestic market despite fuel prices continuing their downward spiral.

Online used-car resell agent Carlypso reports that while just over 50 percent of U.S. new-car sales are focused on light-duty pickups, falling fuel prices haven’t done much to boost sales during the January 2013 – December 2014 period from whence the report collected its data, based on a sample of 16.3 million units.

The report also looked at over 28 million car sales in the same period, finding that PHEVs and EVs like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3 made up 217,217 — or 0.86 percent — of said sales. In December 2014 alone, the Leaf, Volt, i3 and Tesla Model S collectively made up over 70 percent of U.S. PHEV/EV sales, despite the average price at the pump hitting $2.43/gallon that month; the current average is $2.05/gallon, down $1.23 from a year ago.

Carlypso co-founder Nicholas Hinrichsen says the findings show that consumers aren’t changing their behavior with the pump, opting to buy whatever they want as far as features and branding are concerned. He added that a vehicle’s value and demand isn’t going to change with the oil market either, advising consumers to let investors worry about how much West Texas Intermediate will go for per barrel.

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21 Comments on “Carlypso: PHEVs To Reach 1 Percent Market Share In Q1 2015...”


  • avatar

    Until battery technology takes the next great leap forward I doubt that the percentage will hit double digits. PHEV’s have a lot going for them, instant response, quieter, less maintenance etc. In the long term they have a bright future. Until the range issue is solved to some reasonable extent there will be little correlation between the price of gas and PHEV’S sales. Unless gas goes north of $5.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      True, however the same could or should be said concerning hybrids. I dont know if you were including them in your statement. Last year I think but not sure that they made up less than 3 percent of the market.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Considering the announcements of about doubling next gen EVs’ ranges (200+ mi range Leaf, 200 mi range Bolt, 50 mi range Volt, Tesla Roadster range upgrade), that “next great leap” is likely not too far off.

  • avatar
    kovakp

    EVs… for those slow news days.

    • 0 avatar

      given the price of BEVs and PHEVs, people are buying them for reasons other than saving money.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        When comparing apples-to-apples EVs & ICEs, the electric version already should cost less over its whole lifecycle (at the higher gas pricepoint).

        Low gas price throws a wrench in the works, but given the higher initial cost, I genuinely believe that people are not doing cost savings calcs for electricity and instead buy them for other reasons. If they were doing such price calcs, more people would buy EVs. Hence, I don’t expect gas price fluctuations to make much difference for EVs–for cheap gas or even if gas prices spiked again.

        • 0 avatar
          stingray65

          I am assuming by apples to apples you mean a EV with $10,000 in government to buyer subsidies versus an ICV with no subsidies, together with very generous assumptions regarding EV resale value and battery life. Otherwise I don’t believe such a comparison will favor the EV.

          • 0 avatar
            HiFlite999

            If one wishes to compare apples to apples, include the direct costs of keeping Middle East oil flowing. Figure that say 1/3 of the defense budget is dedicated to this purpose, that’s about $1.50/gallon for the 135 billion gallons consumed in the USA per year. Then, to pay off the cost of the wars over there (~$2 trillion, which was kept off-the-books in terms of the defense budget), it would take another $1.50/gallon added to the gas price for the next 10 years.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I think gas will go up again, but I don’t see 4 bucks a gallon anytime soon or the current cycle will repeat. So while I don’t see big SUVs returning to 2007 levels, the death of the V6 family sedan may have been greatly exaggerated and these PHEVs will continue to be the choice for a small niche of folks. They will not be mainstream anytime soon though but I don’t think they’ll be going away either.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      The V6 in a family sedan may die yet, just due to standardizing packaging for a 4 cylinder engine, not for efficiency. I expect the trend to use turbo-4s to continue regardless of gas prices or emission regulations.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      What makes you think gas won’t be $4/gallon in 3 years?

      The conventional explanation for the current drop in gas prices is that the Saudis are dumping oil on the market in order to stop US investment in drilling unconventional oil well. The calculation is that the Saudis have enough cash to do this for 2 about years. Then, once we’ve stopped drilling new wells for a couple of years, the US will have essentially fixed production capacity, leading to a price spike, leading to restarting all of that unconventional drilling in the US again a couple of years after that.

      Of course, everyone’s favorite conspiracy theory is that the US government is onboard with this plan in to punish and destabilize Russia for invading the Ukraine. I don’t endorse this view, but it’s hard not to wonder about it.

      In addition, no new oil has been made. Every time someone burns a gallon of gas, the remaining oil becomes more valuable. This effect can be perturbed by advances in drilling (which increases the oil we think we can recover) and advances is geological science (which increases the oil we think we might-maybe be able to recover) — but there’s still a real reduction in the amout of oil on planet earth whenever someone burns a gallon of the stuff. This will become the main fact of the oil market at some point in the coming decades or centuries, but I don’t know when. Hopefully the Europeans invent fusion power before that happens.

      The price of oil will go way up in the long term, as long as we still use it as a primary fuel. The questions are when the price will go up, why the price will go up, and how quickly the price will go up.

      If I had to bet, I’d say that gasoline will over $4 / gallon by January of 2017 and then continue to be volitle for at least 5 years after that.

      Should be fun!

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        I figure the Saudis will hold at a price that is plenty profitable for them but not high enough to entice the US producers back into the game. And while Saudi Arabia may be able to hold out for 2 years I am not sure the Other OPEC countries are in as strong of a position.

        Perhaps they’ll take oil back up to 100 bucks a barrel though. Then perhaps ISIS will march all the way to the border and we will lack the interest to stop them. ISIS wouldn’t mind controlling Mecca would they?

        Probably not, but personally I’d rather pay more for US oil than have anything to do with that part of the world. Let the next “Gulf War” be a problem for The People’s Liberation Army, not us.

        You hit on one thing though…Oil Availability. I think it will be plentiful in mine and my childrens lifetime, but price alone has proven to not significantly change America’s relationship with the automobile. Now if it weren’t available at any cost like the embargo days then maybe that Prius vs. F150 debate would come out differently but again, I don’t see this in our lifetime.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The conventional explanations are the same ones that missed the various bubbles and crashes that have occurred in the oil market.

        OPEC lost control of oil prices in the 80s when oil futures trading began. We had decades of cartel controls (first by the western “Seven Sisters,” then by OPEC), but those days are long gone. Now the futures markets set the price — theoretically, those should be supply-and-demand driven, but in practice, markets are susceptible to bubbles that come and go.

        Prices have dropped because the demand for oil futures contracts by speculators has dropped. Bubbles eventually pop, and the various economic doldrums worldwide and low demand growth in the US have created enough fear about stagnant demand to scare away the bubble money.

        With hedgers back in control of the market, prices are now more in line with the consumer market and should stay in this range for awhile. It’s not going back to the mid-$20s pricing before the bubble — the BRICs have fundamentally changed the demand side of the game to a point — but it should stay within a reasonable trading range of where it is now for quite some time.

  • avatar
    Mr. Orange

    So does this mean that a certain percentage of the PEV market is no longer affected by the current swing with fuel prices. That’s a pleasant thought.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      >> So does this mean that a certain percentage of the PEV market is no longer affected by the current swing with fuel prices. That’s a pleasant thought.

      Surprisingly, it’s not an issue yet. I thought for sure Leaf sales would take a hit in December, but they were actually up. It actually managed to outsell the Buick Verano (which I thought was a mainstream car) by about 85 cars.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This man, seriously?

    “Carlypso co-founder Nicholas Hinrichsen says the findings show that consumers aren’t changing their behavior with the pump, opting to buy whatever they want as far as features and branding are concerned. He added that a vehicle’s value and demand isn’t going to change with the oil market either, advising consumers to let investors worry about how much West Texas Intermediate will go for per barrel.”

    I’ll break this down.

    “consumers aren’t changing their behavior with the pump, opting to buy whatever they want as far as features and branding are concerned.”

    So consumers consume what they want to consume because they are consuming it. No $hit. But the demand for SUV’s HAS increased with the falling fuel prices.

    “He added that a vehicle’s value and demand isn’t going to change with the oil market either”

    Untrue, large used SUV’s go down in price immediately when fuel costs skyrocket. This absolutely changes with the oil market. It’s an inverse relationship.

    “advising consumers to let investors worry about how much West Texas Intermediate will go for per barrel.”

    Yes, be an uneducated lemming, and let the investors worry about what the market is doing. It doesn’t affect you, dear consumer. You’re somehow outside the market. Rest easy.

    Complete bullshit.

    I would never take anything this man says as truth, nor would I use whatever service he was/is peddling. He’s proved he does not know much about anything.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The biggest issue with EVs is that they are pretty much only attracting people that already drive green cars. The number 1 trade-in for the Leaf, Tesla S, and Volt is a Prius. You don’t gain much environmental benefit from wealthy hybrid owners trading in their government subsidized hybrid for a subsidized EV.

    • 0 avatar
      clivesl

      I am assuming you are using this story from 2012, as I wasn’t able find any more current figures.

      “According to data, 7% of all Volt sales involved a Prius part-exchange, while 18% of all Leaf buyers were making the switch from Prius to Leaf.” this definitively proves your statement in my mind.

      but…

      “According to R.L.Polk & Co., an unusually high number of German cars were traded in during the first six months of the year for a 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Cars like the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and Volkswagen Jetta represented 6% of all trade-in cars.”

      hmm…I hate it when that gray seeps in…

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        I expect most of the Jetta trade-ins are diesels, so yes that would be considered a green trade-in in terms of low fuel use. Recent 3-series and A4s are also pretty efficient, so again the environmental gains are small compared to the so far miniscule portion coming from Tahoe, Suburban, and F-150 type trades.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I traded a perfect Scion xB1 for my Leaf, and I’m no tree hugger.

      The leading candidate to replace the Leaf is a Jeep Renegade, but we’ll see.

  • avatar
    EliRivers

    This post has nothing to do with the article, instead I have a burning curiosity about these used car resell companies. I’ve been searching Craigslist and Ebay motors for months looking for a BMW 3 series. Unfortunately, every listing I came across was a scam or I had to deal with very uncooperative sellers. I’ve looked into Carlypso and also came across another service called Instamotor in my search. I was wondering if anyone has used either service and has any insight on whether their service is worth it?

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