How Many Hybrid Cars Are On the Road?

How Many Hybrid Cars Are on the Road
What Are the Pros and Cons of Hybrid Vehicles?

Do you ever wonder how many hybrid cars are on the road? Surprisingly, the hybrid vehicle market only makes up three percent of all cars on the road today.

History of the Hybrid Car

It may be hard to believe but the history of the hybrid car is quite unique. Hybrid Cars, claims Henry Ford began looking into an all-electric car as far back as 1904. By 1905, the engineer H. Piper filed a patent for a car called the "petrol-electric hybrid car." Mr. Piper had high hopes of combining an electric and internal combustion engine that would reach twenty-five miles to the gallon.

As the engineering battle to create a fuel-efficient, less noisy electric car raged on, it wasn't until the 1960s when TRW was issued a patent for the electromechanical transmission. This engine would be the base of what hybrid cars would become in the future.

How Many Hybrid Cars Are on the Road?

J.D. Power and Associates, an automotive research company expects the amount of hybrid cars on the road will triple by year 2015. Instead of the two percent on the road in 2007 or the three-percent in years 2008 and 2009, this will account for an increase to ten percent of the vehicle market share. That number, according to J.D. Power and Associates, will include diesels as well that could utilize bio-diesel.

Forecasting the number of hybrid cars on the road can be difficult, especially with failed productions by automakers both in the United States and worldwide. Not until President Obama took office did the presidential administration demand that by year 2015, they would like to see one million plug-in hybrids on the highway. But is that a realistic number?

According to Life While, the government's demand for those one million hybrids will depend on the auto manufacturers production to meet those hybrid sales statistics.

What Auto Manufacturers Say About Hybrid Car Production

General Motors is expecting to sell approximately 11,000 Chevrolet Volts in 2010. J.D. Power and Associates expect the number of Chevy Volts on the road to rise to 70,000 by year 2014.

The economical Ford Fusion is already in high competition with the Toyota Prius. The Prius has sold approximately 400,000 units as of early 2009 and the Fusion has sold approximately 150,000 units during its introductory year in 2008 to early 2009. Both Nissan and Chrysler have promised more affordable hybrids but have yet to release model names or dates.

The attraction of compact hybrids is growing. Large hybrids such as the Ford Escape, the Cadillac Escalade, and the Chrysler Aspen have high price tags making them unaffordable and not as efficient. People are looking at the four-cylinder plug in that will achieve over forty miles per gallon, and even higher with expected full plug-in hybrids.

The Need for Hybrid Technology

For hybrids to be accepted and purchased by the average consumer, they must be affordable, comfortable, have good drivability, and be attractive to the eye. Although the 2010 Honda Insight will be in the $20,000 range, the 2010 Toyota Prius is in the $22,000 range and the Ford Fusion comes in at $23,000 for base models, three affordable hybrids do not make for a surge in hybrid car buying.

The need for technology in hybrid car building comes with batteries and battery life. Technology needs to be able to meet the demand of consumers by actually developing plug-in hybrids that will go 190 miles per gallon before the gas engine kicks in.

Rex Roy, an automotive reporter for AutoBlog says of more improved batteries for hybrids, "The breakthrough is coming, but it's still years away from production."

Summing Up Hybrids

When considering how many hybrid cars are on the road today, green people and environmentalists should be happy with the options available, especially when it comes to carbon dioxide releases into the air we breathe. Still, others say battery improvement will come with a larger use of lithium batteries. Because lithium comes mostly from South America, naysayers fear South America could become the new Middle East driving the price of lithium up which would convert to higher hybrid car prices.

For the average consumer to make a difference, automakers need to produce more affordable hybrids other than three or four to choose from. Even green consumers demand variety, but the overall outlook for seeing more hybrids on the road is better today than it ever was.

How Many Hybrid Cars Are On the Road?