Hybrid electric vehicles [HEV] were once in the realm of Japanese automobile manufacturing, and the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius were the first HEVs to grace US highways. Of course, being first also has its advantages, and “Prius” is practically synonymous with “hybrid.”
Today, Toyota Prius is the best-selling hybrid in the world, Toyota is planning on having hybrid versions every model in its lineup.
Here at home, though, HEVs have been bumping up sales numbers across the board. According to data from WardsAuto, Last year, 2012, just over 427,600 hybrids were sold, 164% of hybrid sales in 2011, just over 261,500 vehicles.
The hybrid market share in the US grew to 2.8% from the first hybrids to 2009, just ten years, and by 2012 reached a peak of 3.3%. With these numbers, hybrids have outsold nearly every market segment except for midsize luxury vehicles, small crossovers and utility vehicles, and SUVs.
Toyota and Honda may have been the first to offer best-selling hybrid technology, most other automakers have been introducing hybrids of their own, including Volkswagen, BMW, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.
These vehicles aren’t just fuel-sipping economy vehicles, though, and include luxury vehicles such as the Lexus LS 600h and ES 300h, the Rolls Royce Ghost Hybrid, and Fisker Karma, as well as some concepts we’d like to see, such as the BMW i3 and i8, and the Nissan GT-R (hybrid, of course).