© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Why hybrids are more popular than EVs — even if they aren't quite as splashy


Hybrid vehicles - you know, the ones that use both gas and electricity - do not get a ton of attention these days because everybody's talking about pure electric vehicles. But hybrids remain more popular than EVs. NPR's Camila Domonoske reports.

CAMILA DOMONOSKE, BYLINE: At the DC Auto Show last month, Mason Bond said his favorite car was the Toyota future car.

MASON BOND: It recognizes your personality with artificial intelligence, so whatever mood you're in, the car will ask you if they can drive you.

DOMONOSKE: AI - it's everywhere these days. But his grandpa, Steve, was checking out something less whiz-bang. Call it the Toyota today car, a hybrid Highlander.

STEVE BOND: I think it's time to go from straight gasoline to a hybrid model for the better mileage.

DOMONOSKE: Nearby, Carla Grenell was also planning to check out the latest and greatest tech.

CARLA GRENELL: And I think there's a BMW here that changes colors. I don't know. Is that a real - have you heard of that?

DOMONOSKE: Real thing. But when it comes to the next car that Grenell will consider buying, it won't change colors, it won't read minds and it probably won't have a plug.

GRENELL: Hybrids would be nice to afford, like, kind of like the Prius. That sort of hybrid.

DOMONOSKE: These old-school kind of hybrids are still popular - in fact, much more popular than electric vehicles. Michelle Krebs is with Cox Automotive.

MICHELLE KREBS: About 11% of all new car shoppers look at EVs. About 20% shop for hybrids.

DOMONOSKE: Right now, lots of those shoppers wind up disappointed. For both hybrids and electric vehicles, demand outstrips supply right now, But it shows that a lot of people want hybrids, including people who say they would eventually like to have an electric vehicle. And it's not just because hybrids tend to be a lot cheaper.

KREBS: There's still people who have trepidation about range anxiety and charging and that kind of thing with EVs. And so they see hybrids as a stepping stone.

DOMONOSKE: Apartment dwellers might not have a place to charge at home. Or take Steve Bond. He says, sure, he'd drive an EV someday.

BOND: But not yet.

DOMONOSKE: As for why, he said road trips.

BOND: Availability of charging stations, or I should say lack of.

DOMONOSKE: Meanwhile, hybrid shoppers also have a lot more options these days. The Prius got a sportier redesign - still gets 57 miles to the gallon. But there are also hybrid SUVs and trucks, like Toyota's hybrid RAV4 - 41 miles to the gallon - and the Ford Maverick pickup, which gets 42 miles to the gallon. Or, if you're looking for something sportier...


DOMONOSKE: ...The new Corvette E-Ray has a big beast of a gas engine in the back...


DOMONOSKE: ...And an electric motor about the size of a Folgers coffee can tucked between the front wheels. As for fuel economy - come on, it's a Corvette. Here's chief engineer Josh Holder.

JOSH HOLDER: That's not what this car is about. This is all about enhancing the performance of the Corvette.

DOMONOSKE: Performance, as in going hybrid meant better traction and the fastest Corvette ever - zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds. So, no, hybrids aren't the newest or the hottest technology, but they've moved firmly into the mainstream and they are still very popular. And I probably don't need to tell you that. According to surveys, NPR listeners are twice as likely as the average American to drive a Prius.

Camila Domonoske, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF C Y G N'S "ESCAPE WORLD") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.