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More Buyers are Ditching EVs and PHEVs in Favor of SUVs, Study Says

Ask any newbie in the automotive industry which type of car is the most popular these days and you'll get a straightforward answer: the SUV and it's smaller brother, the crossover.
2010 BMW X6 M 1 photo
Photo: BMW
Nothing out of the ordinary so far, since we're already at peace with the idea that all carmakers are building SUVs and crossovers to boost sales. Hell, we even made ourselves comfortable with Bentley and Rolls-Royce launching their first-ever SUVs, and there's nothing that can go more awkward than this.

Coming back to the main point of this article, a study conducted by Edmunds tells us car buyers are trading in hybrid and electric cars for SUVs at a higher rate than ever before.

According to their report, about 22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and EVs in 2015 bought a new SUV. The number represents a sharp increase from 18.8 percent last year, and it is nearly double the rate of 11.9 percent just three years ago.

The bigger picture speaks for itself, as only 45 percent of this year's hybrid and EV trade-ins aimed at the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle. However, we must ask: why?

Jessica Caldwell, Director of Industry Analysis, has an answer:

"For better or worse, it looks like many hybrid and EV owners are driven more by financial motives rather than a responsibility to the environment. Three years ago, when gas was at near-record highs, it was a lot easier to rationalize the price premiums on alternative fuel vehicles. But with today's gas prices as low as they are, the math just doesn't make a very compelling case".

Just to offer a better view of the situation, consider that EVs and hybrids accounted for just 2.7 percent of all new car sales in the first quarter of 2015. The share of SUVs, meanwhile, has increased from 31.8 percent in Q1 2014 to 34.2 percent in Q1 2015.
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