The hybrid car sizzle is fast becoming the hybrid car fizzle.

Well, that sure didn’t last long.

Hybrid autos:  Already riding off into the sunset?
Hybrid autos: Already riding off into the sunset?

News reports this week are stating that the market share of hybrid vehicles is now on the decline.

That is correct:  As of 1st Quarter 2014, hybrids only make up around 3% of the total car and light truck market in America.

Rather than an increase, that represents a pretty significant drop from nearly a 3.5% share of market just one year ago.

Here are the trend stats in graphic detail, courtesy of automotive statistics and intelligence firm IHS/Polk:

Hybrid Vehicle Stat ChartActually, the number of new hybrid car models being offered is still on the increase — now there are 47 different choices compared to around 25 in 2009, with Toyota’s five Prius models collected representing ~40% of the total hybrid market.  (The Prius share is down from ~55% in 2011, by the way.)

New model offerings or not … it’s pretty clear that the public’s interest in hybrid vehicles isn’t going up commensurately.  And the litany of reasons is all-too-familiar:

  • High car sticker price
  • Costly and complex batteries
  • Improved gas mileage and energy efficiency of conventional vehicles

Looking at the year-over-year trends, I think it’s doubtful that hybrid vehicles will ever achieve the high hopes the EPA and other federal officials have had for their adoption.

How embarrassing for them.

Instead, it seems more likely that the market will gravitate from the internal combustion engine straight to all-electric vehicles.  None of this “automotive hermaphrodite” stuff in between.

The more interesting question is this:  When will that shift occur?

To that one … not many people seem to have a definitive answer.