Oil prices are down, and unless you are a small-time oil driller, that’s good news. The last time that there was a historical downturn in fuel prices, hybrids and electric vehicles saw huge drop-offs in sales.
But this time around, there are two types of cars—hybrids and EVs, and it appears the price of fuel is affecting each one differently. According to Cheat Sheet, hybrids are down in sales, including the Prius. Meanwhile, EVs are actually maintaining, and in some cases up. Cars like the BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf, and Tesla Model S are all sales successes. The Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf are down, but they are both long-in-the-tooth, and are slated to have solid sales in 2016.
Meanwhile, in Europe, both EVs and hybrids are doing quite well. Green Car Congress is reporting that sales are way up for both, with an 80 percent increase for the combined green car market. In Europe, fuel prices are higher, and alt-fuel vehicles receive strong incentives. This is also true in China, where EVs set sales records last year.
But the report also points out that EVs are often more expensive than their conventionally powered counterparts, hence the incentives that are often given. So what gives? Well, for one thing, buyers are probably smart enough to realize that this time of low fuel prices will not last forever. Prices will rise, and when that time comes, a truck could seriously lose value.
Furthermore, while fuel prices will fluctuate, the price of installing a charger system at home is expected to maintain, and as battery technology progresses, the prices of EVs are expected to continue to fall. In short, gas might be the “right now” and gas might be around for a long time to come, but the price of a gallon of regular will surely go back up, and when that comes, there will be a group of smart owners who bet big on EVs when everyone else as burning fossils.