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Are US Hybrid Sales Peaking Already?

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the already-there dept.

Transportation 377

cartechboy (2660665) writes The Toyota Prius is pretty darn popular, especially in California. One might think that hybrid sales are on the rise as gas prices continue to fluctuate, but it seems hybrid sales in the U.S. might be peaking. Researchers at IHS Automotive found that U.S. hybrid sales haven't kept pace with the rest of the market. In the automotive world, conventional wisdom states that adding a model to a brand or segment will increase sales--but that hasn't happened with hybrids. The number of hybrid offerings has almost doubled from 24 in 2009 to 47 in 2014--but U.S. hybrid sales haven't dramatically increased. In fact, hybrid market share actually declined from 2009 to 2010, and then again from 2013 to 2014. So if consumers aren't buying hybrids, what are they buying? It seems some hybrid early adopters are now switching to plug-in hybrids or electric cars stating that these models are just nicer to drive.

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377 comments

HOW HARD CAN IT BE?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249327)

Won't somebody please SHIT ON MY COCK!

Re:HOW HARD CAN IT BE?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249365)

I've a horse who'll shit on anything, as my cockerel learnt while humping his hens.

I can't buy one (1, Insightful)

pem (1013437) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249339)

I've been waiting for a new Mitsubishi i-MiEV for over two months.

Are they peaking because nobody wants them, or because nobody wants to make them?

Re:I can't buy one (1)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249397)

"Peaking" means that sales are at an all-time high and expected to slope downward soon.

Re:I can't buy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249553)

"Peaking" means that sales are at an all-time high and expected to slope downward soon.

It also means the concentration of drugs in your bloodstream is at its highest point and you're really fucked up! How long that takes depends on route of ingestion of course.

Re:I can't buy one (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249971)

I want one, but my disposable income isn't high enough to warrant replacing my '97 sedan. I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting a new car. Just a matter of people having enough money to be able to buy them.

Peak? Not likely considering technologies such as these will push consumer vehicles forward for some time. Plateau? Sure.

Re:I can't buy one (3, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249405)

Are they peaking because nobody wants them, or because nobody wants to make them?

It's because they're as expensive as hell for their size, are mostly (but not always) gutless on hills and under a full load, and they originally didn't deliver the fuel savings as originally promised.

There's also that whole 'gotta replace that uber-expensive-battery-pack-in-7-to-10-years-or-so' bit...
At least with a gas engine, you have some hope of stretching the car's useful life to 15 years these days.

Re:I can't buy one (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249575)

I thought that hybrids with very large caps still make sense, though? You still get the benefits of an electrical power train and running the engine (which also doesn't have to be all that large, since it only has to provide the average expected power) at optimum working point, the dynamics is fully covered by the caps (which should have a technical lifetime exceeding that one of the car, so you shouldn't have to worry about that). If only the caps were cheaper today...

Re:I can't buy one (2)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249635)

I don't know about anybody else, but the Prius reminds me of a really fat kid that doesn't ever want to do anything and whines whenever you try to get him to so much as go outside. Just a combination of its appearance (kind of big and round without much space to actually put stuff in) and gutless, redundant power train. (Yes, it actually has two power trains; which is an otherwise inefficient design.)

If I was in the market for a new car, I think by far I'd go for something Tesla.

Re:I can't buy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47250029)

Odd that you think of a Prius as a really fat kid. I think of the big SUV's as the really fat kid. I think of the Prius as the skinny kid who doesn't eat much, and the SUV as the guy who lives at the all you can eat buffet. The back seat of my Prius is roomer than my mother's Oldsmobile's back seat. And the Prius is narrower than many cars, letting me squeak by traffic in jams, where the fat SUV's and full size cars are stuck. But thanks for the analogy, it's useful.

Re:I can't buy one (2)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249689)

I've got a 2002 Prius which still runs great. It's still using the factory battery pack, which isn't showing any signs of needing replacement.

Admittedly, they're expensive. I recently got a 2013 Prius C as a second car, and the reasonable alternative would have been a Honda Fit for about two thirds of the price. But after driving a car with a no-shift transmission there's no way I'm going back to the stuttery shifts of an automatic. When I hit the gas, I want the car to go - not start going and then pause to think about what gear it should be in.

Re:I can't buy one (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249857)

When I hit the gas, I want the car to go - not start going and then pause to think about what gear it should be in.

I've never had that problem, not even when driving a manual transmission. The only thing that ever bothers me about manual transmission is knowing there's somebody *immediately* behind me on an uphill slope when I bring the transmission into first gear from neutral.

Re:I can't buy one (4, Informative)

Ichijo (607641) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249723)

There's also that whole 'gotta replace that uber-expensive-battery-pack-in-7-to-10-years-or-so' bit...

You don't have to replace the whole pack all at once:

The reality [forbes.com] is that there are 28 separate cells in the hybrid battery pack. When the unit starts to fail, only a handful of the individual cells are bad. What Prius Battery Repair of Houston does, and Toyota could do if it wanted to, is replace the bad hybrid battery pack with a reconditioned one to get the customer back on the road. Then, determine which cells are bad, and simply replace the bad battery cells, recondition the battery, and sell it to the next customer.

The individual cells are only about $25 each on the street.

Re:I can't buy one (1)

beltsbear (2489652) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249837)

Agreed about the expensive part. Not really gutless though, they have good low end torque and do give very good MPG for non-lead footed drivers.

I have looked at several hybrids and they are $10,000 more then the gassers such as the highlander. I am not paying that much for the hybrid option.

Re:I can't buy one (0)

radl33t (900691) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249893)

Sorry. No. People buying new vehicles are not making a rational choice about useful life. If you buy new cars to drive 15 years, you are doing it very, very wrong.

Re:I can't buy one (2)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about a month and a half ago | (#47250011)

They are a bit pricey, yes; HOWEVER, my Fusion Hybrid works out pretty well in hills without issues. Granted, hills tend to reduce the hybrid benefit going up them--but that's beside the point.<br><br>Let me give you some numbers.<br><br>I drove from Baltimore, Maryland to Quebec City, Canada last month. Not only did I drive it to Quebec City, but I drove it up into the mountains of "Parc National des Grand-Jardins" in Charlevoix, Quebec. This mountain drive took us up into the clouds and down again, with 10% grades or more. This drive also took me through the Adirondack Mountains on I-87. While the bulk of the drive was done on highway, I made a couple of hour pitstop in Jersey City, NJ; and it was mine and my buddy's commuter around Quebec City when we needed it to go to the movie theater, etc.<br><br>All in all, the 1600 mile or so round trip drive achieved 46.1 MPG. Note: I didn't reset the trip timer until I was somewhere on Route 1 in Pennsylvania (I avoided 95 for the first portion of the trip until just past Philadelphia).<br><br>http://i.imgur.com/Vv7Y8Lf.jpg is a picture of the trip stats.

Re:I can't buy one (2)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about a month and a half ago | (#47250047)

For what it's worth, Ford quotes 47/47 for the MPG, and I achieved 46.1 driving through mountain terrain in the northeast Appalachian and Laurentian Mountain ranges. Feel free to debate all you wish.

Re:I can't buy one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249523)

HOW TO BE A WORTHLESS, VILE, AMERICAN YARD-APE!!!!
  • Slink around, shuffling your feet and bobbing your neck like the lazy retard you are.
  • Walk down the middle of the street because you don't know what a sidewalk is for.
  • Hang out at carwashes and mini-marts because everybody knows these are the best places to be a dope, I mean dope.
  • If you're a nigger bitch, shit three nigger babies into the world before 17 years of age. This assures that welfare money will support you, so your nigger men have more time to commit crimes.
  • And give REAL honest black people a bad name.
  • Oh yes, make sure each nigger baby has a different father.
  • Bastardize the English language in the name of nigger culture.
  • Make sure that several terms have multiple meanings and others have ambiguous meanings and that only 50% of nigger words are even complete words. Real niggers will know what you're trying to say.
  • As a culture, make sure there are always more blacks in prison than in college at any given time.
  • Hang out in packs of 10 to 15 and make sure everyone acts as annoying as possible. This helps to promote nigger individuality.
  • Always talk loud enough so everyone in the 'hood can fucking hear you, and if they are niggers, they will know what your saying, bro.
  • Wear clothes that are 10 sizes too big, making sure the pants hang off your ass.
  • Park at least 5 junk cars in your yard while being careful not to use the driveway. It's OK to abandon them in the street as long as it's in front of someone else's crib.
  • Exaggerate every motion, every tonal inflection and grab your dick a lot.
  • Do drugs, sell drugs, make drugs. Okay, don't REALLY do this, but it IS what niggers do.
  • Turn your backyard into a junk yard. If you don't have a backyard, turn your mother's into a junk yard.
  • Travel around leaching off relatives, friends, salvation armies.
  • Drink cheap wine and malt liquor every day, forgetting that "malt liquor" is just fortified cheap beer.
  • If you're a nigger buck: fuck anything that moves, no matter how ugly she is. After two 40oz, even the ugliest, fattest nigger bitch will look good.
  • Be charitable and covet fat, ugly white chicks. After all, they're niggers too. They can't help being so undesirable to white men that they have to fraternize with black dudes on a 20/20 trip. And white ho's are a special trophy too, especially the not so ugly ones.
  • Spray paint everything in sight with scribbles that mean nothing to white people but mean things to fellow niggers (except niggers from another hood who will probably go after you for tresspassing on their turf).
  • Use the term "motherfucker" in every sentence. It's one of the most versatile words in the nigger language, being a noun, verb, adjective and complete mini-sentence in event you run out of thoughts.
  • Stop in the middle of the street, blocking all traffic to converse with fellow niggers and have complete disregard for everyone else.
  • Overcharge customers at Taco Bell and pocket the difference.
  • Drive your car while slouched so low that you can barely see over the wheel (gangsta drivin').
  • Get a job under affirmative action. Then sit around all day pretending that you earned the position and that the other co-workers respect you.
  • Whenever you fuck up, scream "racism!" & hope you get enough Generation X liberals in the jury.
  • Never, I mean NEVER, take any responsibility for your actions. Always blame others including Asians, Latinos, Mexicans, and especially Whites for your sorry ass stupid lives.
  • Be sure to get a dog, tie it up in the cold and mud and neglect it until it dies. Then start all over again. Cash must be used because you long ago fucked up your credit and checking account.
  • Cram 5 generations into a two room government apartment and still be able to neglect your kids.

Then you too can be a true nigger, and anyone who finds any fault with anything you do is automatically a racist. They don't dislike what you do and wish you would do something better with your life, nor do they wish you would realize that other people exist and should be treated with respect. No, they're just racists who hate you because of the color of your skin, and everything bad in your life is their fault. You nigger.

Re:I can't buy one (0)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249717)

I think what you're trying to say is, though you're not a Black American,

you kind of wish you were.

Perhaps you could be more clear as you improve your ability to post in a more cognizant fashion.

Re:I can't buy one (4, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249641)

I've been waiting for a new Mitsubishi i-MiEV for over two months.
Are they peaking because nobody wants them, or because nobody wants to make them?

The i.MIEV is not a hybrid. It's electric. Which has its own sales problems because the powertrain is so simple and robust that it requires very little maintenance, so dealers HATE selling them (they don't make as much profit on new car sales since their margins always get squeezed and someone has to pay the interest on those 0% financing and stuff). Dealers love it when customers come back for service, because service is a high-margin item. High enough they toss in stuff like free oil changes and other cheap things to encourage returning. And do it every 3-6 months, at that.

An EV doesn't have many moving parts - just the motor, gearbox and wheels. Unlike an ICE, you don't need to do much maintenance beyond ensuring the coolant levels are OK, vital fluids (like say, brake fluid) are sufficient, etc. You can easily get away without having service them for 2 years or more. Heck, Tesla offers a "we-cover-everything-but-tires" service for $600 annually (including consumables!), and while cheaper than most vehicle services over the same period, is also optional and doesn't void your warranty if you don't do it.

Hybrids are great for dealers because the ICE requires regular servicing, and the motor couplers (for those where the motor and engine can drive the wheels) introduce more complexity for servicing (more $$$).

The other thing is, well, a lot of hybrids have piss-poor gas mileage that can be obtained with an all-gas vehicle. And some hybrids just plain suck or have poor reviews.

Peaking? They're all tiny little crackerboxes (1, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249659)

I'm waiting for a model that is all-electric, won't require a $10,000 battery replacement after ten years (or ever, preferably), has over a 300 mile range when being driven aggressively with the A/C and/or heater running and the audio system blasting, is or can-switch-to 4WD with significant ground clearance, can carry significant cargo preferably in a pickup truck format with an extended cab or perhaps a roomy SUV format, and costs somewhere under 50k.

First trigger would be ultracaps or some other transformative storage tech (presuming no transformative on-board generation tech arrives first or otherwise). Second trigger would be that range issue. Finally, they have to address the complete lack of models of interest to me.

I don't think they're going to make what I want in the time I have remaining as a driver; right now, I don't even think they could do it if they had an unlimited budget.

Consequently, I'll keep rolling in what I already have. :)

Re:I can't buy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249725)

A co-worker has one. I know it is faint consolation, but it is hard to beat it for a commute vehicle in a metro area. It may not be pretty, but it has decent pickup and for getting around in a town, it does a superb job.

I think you will like it, provided you know its limitations.

Well that seems just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249343)

So... people aren't buying hybrids because they're buying plug-in hybrids or pure-electric vehicles?

Isn't that GOOD news?

What a strange post.

Re:Well that seems just fine (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249447)

Except it means that while the people who were buying hybrids are now buying pure-electric vehicles, the people who weren't buying hybrids, still aren't buying hybrids. That means that the number of people who stopped buying ordinary gas vehicles has peaked.

Re:Well that seems just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249541)

Are non-gas vehicles chick-magnets?

No?

Fix that, and watch sales go back up.

Re:Well that seems just fine (1)

MachDelta (704883) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249781)

There are definitely hybrids that could be considered chick-magenets. The McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 Spyder come to mind. The problem with them is that their price tags are of the "if you have to ask..." variety.

Re:Well that seems just fine (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249633)

Except it means that while the people who were buying hybrids are now buying pure-electric vehicles

The article states this as a conjecture. There is no actual reason to believe that many people buying electrics are ex-hybrid-owners.

That means that the number of people who stopped buying ordinary gas vehicles has peaked.

I don't see how this conclusion follows from your premise. This would only be true if the total sales of (hybrids + electrics) has also peaked, and it hasn't.

I think the explanation is much simpler: Non-plugin hybrids don't make sense. They still burn fossil fuel, and are far more expensive than a turbo diesel that gets even better mileage. So people are switching to plugin hybrids or pure electrics.

Re:Well that seems just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249747)

> There is no actual reason to believe that many people buying electrics are ex-hybrid-owners.

There is a really good reason to believe that. There just aren't any hard numbers one way or the other. Yet.
Vehicle registrations are public information - so it won't be long now before some "Big Data's" that info to figure out what former hybrid owners now own.

Re:Well that seems just fine (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249637)

It's still not a "problem", though - since CAFE standards have really kicked in and average sedan mileage starts to approach hybrid mileage. Fleet mileage is the only important number, and a Prius-sized "regular" car is all the way up to around 37 MPG this coming year. Every year, the incentive to go hybrid gets weaker as the CAFE standards get tighter.

Re:Well that seems just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249645)

Personally, I'd skip the hybrid altogether and go for the Tesla. I think hybrid vehicles over-promised and under-delivered.

Re:Well that seems just fine (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249493)

So... people aren't buying hybrids because they're buying plug-in hybrids or pure-electric vehicles?

Isn't that GOOD news?

What a strange post.

The way I understood it, hybrids were meant as a bridge between gasoline powered cars and electric cars. Especially with Tesla's recent decision on releasing its patents, we'll only see more electric cars. So hybrids will eventually go by the wayside anyway.

Re:Well that seems just fine (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249555)

The way I understood it, hybrids were meant as a bridge between gasoline powered cars and electric cars. Especially with Tesla's recent decision on releasing its patents, we'll only see more electric cars. So hybrids will eventually go by the wayside anyway.

Indeed. The problem with a 'standard' hybrid is that it's still purely powered by gasoline. You go to a 'strong' hybrid or outright EV with a battery pack large enough and set up for charging from the wall you can actually enjoy the lower 'fuel' price of electricity. Battery pack prices aren't dropping like a rock, but they are on a strong decline, such that the weak hybrid battery pack of a decade ago was more expensive than the strong battery packs of today.

If you can chop half your fuel bill by spending roughly $2k to get a car with a plug on it, why wouldn't you? That's roughly $1.6k for a larger battery and $400 for the charging system. At ~$200 per kwh, that's an extra 8 kwh or ~24 miles of range. Remember, hybrid. That's enough to increase the pure EV range to 30-40 miles, which will cover 'most' commutes, and gas station visits to less than once a month in most cases.

Why would I buy a Prius (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249367)

When I can but a Toyota Matrix for half the price, get twice the cargo space and still get 38 mpg. I think consumers are realizing that hybrids are just a clever way for automakers to tax people who suck at math. Meanwhile the air in Beijing is still chewable so the saving the planet crowd might be weakening too.

Re:Why would I buy a Prius (2, Insightful)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249461)

That's what I was thinking. Hybrids often don't get good enough gas mileage to warrant the extra cost. Now with more diesels hitting the market, you can get good mileage and still have good power.

Then there's folks like me who wouldn't be interested in a hybrid, but would jump into an electric car in a heartbeat. What can I say, I like fast cars. And electrics get you efficiency and torque. What's not to like (except charging times)?

Re:Why would I buy a Prius (2, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249587)

And electrics get you efficiency and torque.

But take most of the fun out of driving fast. No engine, no rpm, no manual transmission.

Its like being given a steak dinner in pre-chewed form. Its all there, but its still ruined. :)

When I bought my current sports car I shopped for the manual 6 speed transmission, not because I imagine I can shift better than the computer in the tiptronic version. but because just its so much more engaging and in turn more fun to drive the manual.

Electrics are rapidly reaching the point where they deliver all the performance of a real sports car, and beyond, but I've still got zero interest in one. (Although I'd be fine with one as a commuter car.)

Maybe I'm just being sentimental. :)

What's not to like (except charging times)?

Charging time actually another item that makes them fairly useless as a track day car. I can (and must) refill the tank in my car a couple times on a good track day (including a fill up and the end of the day to get me back home). A fill up takes all of 5 minutes.

Re:Why would I buy a Prius (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249671)

No fun? Dude. Go test drive a Tesla and you will change your mind. There is absolutely nothing like it. The lack of gear switching is exactly what makes it so mind-blowingly amazing.

Re:Why would I buy a Prius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249787)

Congratulations on completely missing the parent poster's point.

Re:Why would I buy a Prius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249887)

His point? Track racer doesn't buy Prius. News at eleven.

Re:Why would I buy a Prius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249809)

A 2011 Matrix 1.8L gets 25 City/32 Hwy, which agrees with the real world mileage I got in a Matrix rental. A Prius gets close to double the city mpg, and it's definitely worth it for people who do a lot of stop and go city traffic.

Re:Why would I buy a Prius (3, Informative)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249815)

The Matrix is discontinued.

A 4-door Yaris will probably come in at $16.5k new. It'll give you 15.6 cu ft of cargo space and burn a gallon of gas to go 30/36 miles.

A Prius will come in around $25.8 new. It'll give you 21.6 cu ft of cargo space and burn a gallon of gas to go 51/48 miles, while having a much more comfortable interior.

A better comparison would be the Prius C, which will cost about $20.1k new. With that you've got 17.1 cu ft of cargo space and go 53/46 on a gallon of gas.

Toyota doesn't actually sell a car cheaper than the Prius C with more cargo space.

Re:Why would I buy a Prius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249923)

While I'm not really a fan of my wife's Prius, it gets a real world 54 MPG, and is larger/better than a Matrix.

Reality check. (3, Informative)

guidryp (702488) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249965)

When I can but a Toyota Matrix for half the price, get twice the cargo space and still get 38 mpg. I think consumers are realizing that hybrids are just a clever way for automakers to tax people who suck at math.

Really it sounds like you suck at math, but full points for hyperbole.

The Matrix gets 28 MPG, not 38 MPG. (vs 50 MPG for the Prius)
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg... [fueleconomy.gov]

The Matrix doesn't have twice the cargo space. According the same link, the Matrix has LESS cargo space than the Prius.

The Matrix wasn't half the price (It Appears the Matrix is no more), but again according to the above. Matrix was $19275 vs $24200 for Prius. Hardly half. The Base Prius is also a lot better equipped than a Base Matrix.

Also the average driver would save $850 annually on gas driving the Prius over the Matrix(if gas prices stay the same), meaning it would take 5.8 years to make up the price difference, after that it is gravy and you have a better equipped car, and more savings going forward.

Could it be ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249371)

because most hybrids carry an extra $5000-$8000 on the price tag for the privilege of owning one....

What are they buying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249373)

Could it be something silly like, food? Or maybe gas for their current gas guzzler so they can get to work?

Re:What are they buying? (1)

TWX (665546) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249509)

Could it be something silly like, food? Or maybe gas for their current gas guzzler so they can get to work?

My "gas guzzler" of a 1995 Impala that I bought with 6000 miles on the odometer three years ago costs me less in loan+fuel than a new car with three times the fuel economy would in loan+fuel.

I am certainly in favor of increasing the fuel economy of new vehicles. On the other hand, I believe that it makes sense to use equipment until it's reached the end of its lifespan. If that six year old Escalade is paid-off, then operating it will probably still cost less than buying a new vehicle, even at three times the fuel economy.

Re:What are they buying? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249997)

You had me at Escalade.

Up until the Caddy SUV is six years old, the average length of the note required to pay off a 70k vehicle, a used model can retain nearly 50% of its original value if kept in decent shape.

Holding your fashion statement of a vehicle an additional 2-3 years dramatically reduces your resale value, and must be accounted for in any perceived savings equation.

Modern engines get the same efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249399)

Diesel and the newest four or three cylinder engines actually beat most hybrids in efficiency. With the extra drive train the hybrid is even heavier than the traditional one while costing more and increasing the likelihood of costly repairs. Electric cars, or, for the practical, "true hybrids" with back-up generators, are the way forward.

I've been saying this for years. (5, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249407)

It was inevitable: Peak Hybrid had to happen. It's getting more and more difficult to extract crude hybrid from the lower levels of the tax code, which makes it more expensive to dole out. And, they're running out of room in the Whole Foods parking lot, where things are getting real, man.

Re:I've been saying this for years. (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249503)

You laugh, but apparently crude hybrid is a thing [batteryuniversity.com] .

Re:I've been saying this for years. (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249879)

Absolutely. Your link mentions lithium, cobalt, and graphite as examples of peak rare earth metals which are unlikely to keep pace with any significant increase in global demand.

Other alternative energy advances are also handicapped by infinitesimal earthly reserves of essential metals: tellurium for solar panels, terbium in new gen compact fluorescent bulbs, and even platinum as a fuel cell catalyst.

There's a silver lining, though, as this buoys the chance that we'll be mining off-planet sooner rather than later.

Re:I've been saying this for years. (0)

sribe (304414) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249811)

And, they're running out of room in the Whole Foods parking lot, where things are getting real, man.

If the fucking self-absorbed head-up-the-ass Prius drivers would learn to park their dinky little toy cars in one space instead of straddling two, the parking problem would be greatly relieved.

I am not kidding. Tour the Boulder (Pearl St) Whole Foods parking lot some time and see how many Prius drivers cannot get their cars into one space. Bunch of passive-aggressive trust-fund-baby fuckers.

Only 22% (1)

usacoder (816957) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249419)

of hybrid owners would buy a second. Maybe that's why it's peaking.

Re:Only 22% (1)

ADRA (37398) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249457)

Of which, the traditional slashdot response is: Show us the source of such a very outlandish statistic.

Re:Only 22% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249521)

I found [url=http://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-hybrid-car-owners-unlikely-to-buy-another/]multiple[/url] [url=https://www.polk.com/company/news/only_35_percent_of_hybrid_owners_buying_hybrids_again_says_polk]sources[/url] in my first Google search, except the number is 35%. What's your reason for calling it "very outlandish"? Personally, I'm not surprised. A hybrid is a luxury purchase to feel good about being green. They aren't with the price without that and I figured people figure that out before they buy a second one. I think 35% is surprisingly large!

Re:Only 22% (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249535)

I believe it. A family with two cars would likely have one fuel-efficient car, like a hybrid, and one family car, like a minivan or an SUV.

The poll should have asked what people buy when they sell their hybrid.

Re:Only 22% (1)

supremebob (574732) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249759)

I'll bet that my wife is going to be one of those people. She has a 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid, which only gives her an average mileage of 29 MPG.

They don't even MAKE new Ford Escape Hybrids anymore, and for good reason. The new 2014 Escape with the 1.6L "Ecoboost" 4 cylinder gets better highway mileage than her old car did, and it's $7,000 cheaper with a similar option package. We're not a fan of the styling (It looks more like a Crossover than a real SUV now), but I'm sure that we can get something else with the same gas mileage for the similar price.

Re:Only 22% (1)

compro01 (777531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249921)

Highway mileage? Hybrids are don't do anything for highway. The battery and motor may as well be ballast for highway driving, so you'll get identical highway mileage, at best (more probably, slightly worse) compared to an otherwise identical conventional vehicle.

If you're doing mostly highway, a hybrid has no benefit for you.

Hybrids only do anything for stop-and-go city driving, where they shine pretty nicely, largely due to not idling.

Economics (1)

ADRA (37398) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249423)

Hybrids will always be at least a fmall fraction of the economic realities of the automotive industry. Most notably:

1. Perception - Does this car add any perceived benefit to myself (smug factor)
2. Gas - Higher gas prices will influnce total cost of ownership (TCO), and for those who bother to calculate it, a rise / reduction in fuel costs should factor into demand
3. Electricity - When you pug in at home, your home electrical costs rise, so in order to maintain TCO benefits, electrical costs should rise slower than gasoline
4. Economies of scale - Producing significant portions of EV's should theoretically improve the unit cost to produce them, and ultimately allow for prices to drop improving TCO
5. Subsidies - TCO +/-
6. Resource scarcity - EV in large scales are generally a new concept for most of the world, so its taxing demand on more materials that classical auto's haven't which drives up price

If in 10 years the TCO of EV's were 1/10th of traditional gas burners, we'd be looking back and say just how quaint that ol' gas technology really was. That said, there'd be a lot more world shifting things to consider if petrolium was no longer a significant driver as an energy source.

Re:Economics (1)

netsavior (627338) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249565)

2014 Corolla - Edmunds.com TCO = $35,728 [edmunds.com]
2014 Prius - Edmunds.com TCO = $35,727 [edmunds.com]

(Edmunds TCO includes gasoline, repairs, financing, taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc for 5 years)

With savings like that, why the heck aren't people lining up out the door for the Prius?? I mean, 1 dollar over 5 years... that is like 20 cents a year, IN YOUR POCKET. Cash money, man.

**To be fair, there is almost a 3800 dollar TCO advantage for camry hybrid vs camry base model... but 760 dollars a year isn't exactly going to drop a lot of panties.

Re:Economics (3, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249737)

The TCO estimates also use 15,000 miles/year as their base. Some people are fortunate enough to choose a place to live that is close to their job (or vice versa). My wife puts a whole 3500 miles on her Camry each year and I put around 7000 on the Sienna. They simply don't make hybrids or electrics that are cost effective for us.

New Car Buyers (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249427)

The number of new-car buyers is relatively inelastic. What you're seeing is the number of buyers that are willing to pay a premium for a hybrid over a vehicle with a conventional transmission.

Some buyers of hybrids actually want 100% electric cars. The hybrid was settling. Now that there are some 100% electrics, those buyers won't buy another hybrid.

Some buyers can only afford the cheapest car or only want to afford the cheapest car with the most fuel economy, and often that's a subcompact with a small four-cylinder engine and highway differential gearing, and in many instances that car gets as good fuel economy as a hybrid of of the next size-class up.

Lastly, hybrids often are equipped with more options or luxury options, which pushes up the price.

If you want hybrids to sell more, make them cheaper to buy, and sell them based on their fuel economy as the feature, not simply that they're a hybrid. That'll help attract buyers that want to avoid the dreaded "H word", and could get subcompact economy buyers to consider hybrids.

I'd personally like an all-electric, but I don't want a goofy looking car in the process. I want something like a modern Dart or 200 with a full-electric drivertrain, like the setup used in the Fiat 500e. But since Marchionnie doesn't even want to sell the 500e and is only doing so because California's laws require it, I doubt we'll see a Dart-electric or 200e anytime soon.

My experience driving a Prius (3, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249439)

We paid extra to rent a Prius went we went out West a few years ago. Don't recall which model year it was, 2007 or 2008 I think but could be wrong there. Either way I came away less than impressed. Strike One for me is anything with an automatic transmission, which makes me a relic I suppose, but there it is. The weird issue was with the seemingly hesitant throttle. There were times (turning left in front of oncoming traffic) where I stomped the gas and it seemed as though the computer had to stop and think, "Hmm.... electric, gas, or both?" and the car barely moved. Once it got going it had ample pick-up, for an automatic, but that 1-2 second delay took a lot of getting used to.

After a week of driving that thing I came away with the feeling that I would never own one. To be sure, there were some really neat things about it, like the dead silence when cruising at low speeds on the electric drive. Other than the throttle delay it handled as well as any mid-priced car I've driven. The build quality was nice and about what you'd expect in the price range. The gas mileage was a lot less impressive than what I was expecting, though the large proportion of highway miles and my penchant for speeding in wide open spaces (did you know the Prius will happily cruise at 110mph?) doubtless had something to do with that. Frankly if most of your driving is highway I don't see the point, my $17,000 non-hybrid Honda Civic is competitive with the Prius when it comes to highway driving.... I can milk 43-44mpg out of my Civic without trying that hard, and that's despite living in a hilly region.

Re:My experience driving a Prius (1)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249507)

I own a couple of Prius vehicles and I've never noticed the delay. That sounds kinda scary if it ever did happen. I wonder if yours was defective.

Going 110 probably had a lot to do with not saving money. I drive at a relaxing 60 - 65 mph and I get great gas mileage.

Re:My experience driving a Prius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249741)

Eh, I suspect that he's complaining about "passing gear" on automatics in general. The last two (gas) Asian automatics I've driven, you really had to put the pedal all the way down to get the transmission to agree to switch to passing gear. The entire time your foot is pushing the pedal from cruising level to the floor, neither of them (a Honda and a Hyundai) would react much at all, so it feels like a delay if you're not stomping on the gas fast and hard, especially if you were hoping the car would "start accelerating" from when you started putting your foot down.

Re:My experience driving a Prius (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249835)

http://priuschat.com/threads/acceleration-hesitation.75651/

Re:My experience driving a Prius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47250003)

"relaxing 60 - 65 mph"

Yeah, having the big rigs on your ass because they can't pass while everyone is flying by you sounds really relaxing.

Although, I used to live in San Diego fifteen years ago, and it seemed like the highway only ever went about 60-65 regardless of which lane, which irritated the crap out of me (am from Michigan).

Re:My experience driving a Prius (1)

SumDog (466607) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249539)

The really early Hybrid Civics had manual options. But they were primitavie "let's just slap an electric motor between the transmission and engine" designs. I'm with you though. I don't even like the paddle shifters on the new GTRs (even though I realize it still has a clutch and it's a lot faster...just give me a pedal to launch with. If you spend $80k on a car, you should at least get that).

The Tesla high end roaders are 3-speeds I believe. Not sure if they have a clutch though, but there is a shifter lever.

Re:My experience driving a Prius (2)

quantaman (517394) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249589)

Frankly if most of your driving is highway I don't see the point, my $17,000 non-hybrid Honda Civic is competitive with the Prius when it comes to highway driving.... I can milk 43-44mpg out of my Civic without trying that hard, and that's despite living in a hilly region.

I think that's an important point. The hybrids aren't peaking because people aren't interested in fuel efficient vehicles. They're peaking because there's so many fuel efficient vehicles available [energytrendsinsider.com] .

Re:My experience driving a Prius (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249621)

Frankly if most of your driving is highway I don't see the point, my $17,000 non-hybrid Honda Civic is competitive with the Prius when it comes to highway driving.... I can milk 43-44mpg out of my Civic without trying that hard, and that's despite living in a hilly region.

If you're a highway warrior for the forseeable future your best bet is diesel. Electric power-trains truly show their strength in city driving due to the ability to regenerate from braking. On the highway the savings are too marginal.

As for your 1-2 second wait until you get power - that's probably the electric motor putting energy towards starting the gasoline engine to provide the power you want. A strong hybrid(IE one capable of highway speeds without using the gasoline engine) would fix that, but is a touch more expensive and even cheaper to convert to a plug-in hybrid design(more power = bigger battery = longer range = just need to add a wall charger and change the computer logic).

Re:My experience driving a Prius (3, Informative)

jratcliffe (208809) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249631)

The gas mileage was a lot less impressive than what I was expecting, though the large proportion of highway miles and my penchant for speeding in wide open spaces (did you know the Prius will happily cruise at 110mph?) doubtless had something to do with that. Frankly if most of your driving is highway I don't see the point, my $17,000 non-hybrid Honda Civic is competitive with the Prius when it comes to highway driving.... I can milk 43-44mpg out of my Civic without trying that hard, and that's despite living in a hilly region.

On the highway, the hybrid aspect becomes essentially irrelevant. If you took the Prius, and replaced the battery with an equivalent weight of lead, you'd get essentially the same highway mileage. It gets good highway mileage because its a (relatively) light car with excellent aerodynamics (like the Civic). Hybrids really shine (on a MPG basis) off the highway, where you recover the lost energy from braking in city traffic.

As an example, look at the Ford Fusion, which is available in a hybrid and non-hybrid version. On the highway, the hybrid gets 41mpg, vs. 37mpg for the regular version. In the city, however, the hybrid gets 44mpg, vs 25mpg for the regular version.

Re:My experience driving a Prius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249777)

Prius'es drive like appliances. Feels like you're piloting an optimization equation that's designed to get you from A to B in the least amount of fuel. Step on the throttle and the car takes it under advisement, thinks a bit, and then gives you what *it* thinks you need. I've driven my brother's Prius and totally hated the disjointed experience of the spongy, rubber bandy throttle. It'll get you from A to B, but It's just not a very engaging "driving" experience.

Re:My experience driving a Prius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249807)

I've driven a Prius for over 200k miles. The trick to fast acceleration is to push the pedal down about halfway with a full battery. Stomping it to the floor will over-rev the gas engine and you won't get peak torque. Also, slow, light braking is necessary to fully charge the battery (think 60 to 0 in 30 car lengths). A Prius shines at 48 mph. That's where you can get 80 mpg. It'll quickly coast past 70 mph if you have a large enough hill.

I've coasted for 30 minutes into Denver before with less than a gallon in the tank.
45.5 mpg was my cross-country mileage in a 2001 Prius with a typical hwy speed of 85 mph.

The 2012 Prius c gets about 5 mpg more than the 2001 and bluetooth, 5 cupholders, and fold down seats are the pluses.
I opted against keyless entry, so it's pretty vanilla inside.

Re:My experience driving a Prius (1)

guacamole (24270) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249901)

Your information is out of date. The 2012- Prius uses a bigger 1.8L engine and a CVT transmission. The throttle response is excellent for a zippy commuter car. Thanks to well calibrated CVT transmission there is never a hesitation and jerkiness in shifts you can experience with the automatics. So, in my personal opinion, the 2012- Prius nails the drive train pretty well. It's an excellent car. The only issue right now is the price. For 24-25K you get a base model with very low equipment, even seat adjustments are manual.

The case for 'electric' cars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249469)

http://www.stanford.edu/group/greendorm/participate/cee124/TeslaReading.pdf

Every improvement in battery technology brings tangible improvements to what 'was' electric cars major draw back. Now its only a matter of manufacturing more to bring down prices.

Hybrid cars are going to go in the same direction as a v90/56k modem if anyone remembers that. At the end of a dead technology the last revision before something much better.

It's the branding (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249491)

There was something on public radio a few years talking about hybrids and more specifically the Prius. It mentioned that people specifically wanted Prius's and it in general was not due to the Prius being the most economical and efficient hybrid but because it was a Prius, much in the same way people purchased a BMW because it's a BMW.

Diesel? (1)

vistic (556838) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249505)

I switched from Hybrid to Diesel.

(2010 Honda Insight to 2014 VW Golf TDI).

They're popular in Europe, and I guess finally starting to get a little more popular in the US now. This year Mazda is introducing a Diesel in the US for the first time (I think) with the Mazda 6 SkyActiv-D.

Re:Diesel? (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249773)

But do you like the TDI and diesel performance?

Re:Diesel? (1)

praxis (19962) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249915)

But do you like the TDI and diesel performance?

I do. Ten years ago when I was a teenager and thought acceleration is everything I'd not have but really they're more than enough for driving in the US city I drive in.

Re:Diesel? (1)

vistic (556838) | about a month and a half ago | (#47250015)

I think maybe performance has improved. I have a hard time starting from a full stop and not squealing my tires a lot of times.

Re:Diesel? (1)

vistic (556838) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249947)

So far I love it. I got my Insight in July 2009. So coming from 5 years and 85,000 miles of driving a Hybrid almost anything is going to feel pretty powerful. But the TDI has a turbocharger and I feel it kick in all the time (may also be due to how I drive). I don't have experience driving really sporty cars, but I can say it's definitely more powerful and handles better than any of the cars I owned before the Insight hybrid (namely: Jeep Cherokee, Pontiac Grand Am V6, Honda Civic).

They are missing the point! (1)

GameofScones (3695999) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249517)

A slight dip does not mean failure.

Re:They are missing the point! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249681)

Oh but they will fail. And quickly too - hybrids are always just marketing over substance. They are shitty cars to drive, they dont actually save that much fuel and they are going to be destroyed in the market as EV's really get going. And Tesla have pretty much proven EV's have a genuine future AND can either match or even be better than petrol cars. e're no longer at the "EV's are ten years away from mainstream for the last 50 years", Tesla are going mainstream now and other manufacturers are following.

Hybrids are done. GOOD.

Hybrids are dumb (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249529)

They're way overcomplicated Rube Goldberg devices. If you really need a gas or diesel motor, just have it run a generator.

They'll probably see a spike soon (1, Flamebait)

afidel (530433) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249547)

With the coming $4.50+/gallon gas coming this summer due to the combination of Ukrain and Iraq (plus screw you, we're big oil) I think you'll see sales jump up again. I wonder how many of the folks that bought pickups this spring (the big jump in US auto sales was mostly in the light truck and SUV segment) will be wishing they had bought something with a bit better fuel economy?

Re:They'll probably see a spike soon (1)

kick6 (1081615) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249801)

plus screw you, we're big oil

I think you mean "screw you, we're wall street speculators."

Re:They'll probably see a spike soon (1)

compro01 (777531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249849)

With the coming $4.50+/gallon gas coming this summer due to the combination of Ukrain and Iraq (plus screw you, we're big oil) I think you'll see sales jump up again.

Yeah, but new conventional vehicles are awfully close to hybrids in terms of fuel economy, without the extra cost. And then fuck-everything-we're-doing-full-electric is eating into the hybrid's market share from the other side.

Re:They'll probably see a spike soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47250043)

I wonder how many of the folks that bought pickups this spring (the big jump in US auto sales was mostly in the light truck and SUV segment) will be wishing they had bought something with a bit better fuel economy?

Probably none of them, until you can buy a hybrid truck (an actual hybrid truck, not just one that generates a little bit of power for tools).

350Z (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249597)

I got me a 350Z convertible.

When you don't drive many miles, fuel efficiency is moot. Fun factor is not.

Re:350Z (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249847)

Try a Tesla roadster [teslamotors.com] .

Re:350Z (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249963)

I'd love to. Please give me $50,000 to make up the difference.

Very simple reason (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47249649)

The reason Prius owners aren't buying new hybrids: because their Priuses are still running great. Mine is ten years old and runs as well as a brand new one.

Re:Very simple reason (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about a month and a half ago | (#47250039)

Amen to that. There's a reason they give you 8 years of factory warranty - they can afford it. A few other car makers can't because the repairs under warranty would bankrupt them.

I bought a second hand Prius, 5yr old, last year. Runs like new. The electronics and the drive are incredibly reliable. The start battery however, is not so great. But apart from that, it's a much better car than the other hybrids I tried. The Mercedes I drove before that one was a better car, but unreliable and with less fuel economy (diesel) and more tax.

What are people buying? ... (0)

xfade551 (2627499) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249793)

At least around my area, I'd say we are buying Mustangs, Cameros, Corvettes, Challengers, and Chargers. (yes, I phrased that "we" for a reason) Other people are buying F150s, Silverados, Rams, and Titans.

Not financially rewarding (1)

werepants (1912634) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249889)

In most cases, if what you care about is fuel savings, there are better approaches. I got a Mazda3 with a SkyActiv engine, and I've never gotten below 30 MPG, and have sometimes gotten into the low 40's. That for a reasonably sized car that is comfortably under $20k, and there isn't much case for a hybrid. You've also got to consider that fuel economy only has a decent payoff time if you drive a lot, and most people who drive a lot probably do it on the highway, where hybrid technology offers little benefit.

Really, the no-brainer use case for hybrids is somebody who drives all the time in city conditions... or basically taxi drivers. Which is why so many of them are hybrids now. There's a limited market for them outside of that, though - most other people are better served by good old ICE technology or by going whole hog with electric.

Is there an economical car yet? (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249905)

All one manufacturer needs to do is be able to make one without bells and whistles, and aim for economy. Make a plug in hybrid for under $16,000, and people who care about their wallet will buy enmass. It doesn't make sense to buy a plugin hybrid when you can buy a cheaper car that comes with "free gasoline." When I look at cars and go,"Okay, I could by a hybrid or a car ten grand cheaper, the 100,000 miles of free gasoline means it isn't economically sensible." A plug in hybrid that is economically feasible could vastly improve poor people's lives. They could go from store to store shopping for deals if they wanted since the biggest reason not to now is that the gasoline overhead of traveling.

I guess as long as some people are still buying the more expensive hybrids that is good for the future of the technology to come down in price, but I don't know any manufacturer who has done it yet.

Once you go electric, you never go back :-) (3, Interesting)

decaffeinated (70626) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249917)

My wife and I purchased a 2005 Prius (back when they were quite uncommon). Wife's car. She loved it. Very reliable. Great mileage in warm weather, decent mileage in winter (37 mpg).

I liked her Prius so much I bought a 2010 Prius. Better gas mileage than the 2005, plus the option to boost power on demand, made this car a dream to drive. The interior fit, though, is sad (annoying rattle under the glove box).

We recently upgraded my wife's 2005 Prius to a 2012 Chevy Volt. OMG. So quiet! And the initial torque when you step on the accelerator...wow, just wow. The 2012 Volt makes my 2010 Prius seem like a go cart. My wife's current game with the car is to see how little gas she can use. So far, 2 tanks consumed and both of those were mandatory burnoffs required by the Volt after the gas sat in the car (unused) for 12 months. Her current lifetime gas mileage (as recorded by Chevy) is 597 MPG.

My next car will not be a Prius...it will be an electric of some type.

Re:Once you go electric, you never go back :-) (1)

guacamole (24270) | about a month and a half ago | (#47249973)

The Volt is still extremely expensive. The base MSRP is 40 grand and you can buy it cheaper only due to the government subsidies. If I had some 35K grand burning my pocket, I'd personally look at getting a Honda Accord hybrid. This car beats diesels in both torque and fuel economy, and unlike Volt, you can take it on a long trip.

Re:Once you go electric, you never go back :-) (2)

decaffeinated (70626) | about a month and a half ago | (#47250031)

Umm, the Volt has a gas tank so that you can drive from one end of the country to the other. When the Volt is driven gas only, it's EPA MPG rating is about 35 MPG. Not bad...not great, either.

We paid a lot more than 40K for the car (before trade-in), but both my wife and I are environmentalists. We are committed to using less carbon in our lives and willing to pay for the privilege. Every time our Volt uses gas to charge the battery (when we drive outside it's electric range), we say that the "Volt had a sad."

no longer a fashion statement (0)

dltaylor (7510) | about a month and a half ago | (#47250021)

They never were ecologically sound; get a Jetta TDI if you want that. They (the Prius, especially) were an "I'm so cool" fashion statement. Now that "everybody" has one, that is no longer true. Maybe those people are moving to the remote-polluting EVs.

The only really sound reason to get one was the CA carpool permit, and those are moving to the EVs also.

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