As is well known, hybrid and electric vehicles still make up a very small slice of US new vehicle sales, with small fuel efficient cars and crossovers taking up some of the slack for now in hitting federal fuel economy targets. Plug-in electric vehicles closed 2011 at 17,813 units sold in the US, and hybrid electric vehicles represented 268,807 units sold out of about 12.7 million new vehicles sold.
As for January 2012 sales figures, 21,778 hybrids were sold in the US market and 1,427 plug-in electric vehicles. The BMW Active E was added to the plug-in list and it sold 112 units in the US market in January. The Chevy Volt was clearly affected by its safety investigation, which was closed by NHTSA in January. Its sales were down 60% from December 2011.
It will be interesting to see how the escalating gasoline prices will affect sales figures in February and beyond. Hybrid vehicle sales did shoot up during the spike of 2008, and it’s likely to happen again. As for electric vehicle sales, that’s very hard to predict, being so new to the market and much higher in price than highly fuel efficient gasoline engine vehicles.