US sales of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in 2022 are expected to decline to less than 20%, the lowest share of total electric vehicle (BEV + PHEV) sales since 2011 according to analysis by EVAdoption of S&P Mobility data for the Alliance of Automotive Innovation.
Through three quarters in 2022 the PHEV share of total EV sales dropped to 20% from 26.9% for the full-year 2021. The previous full year low for PHEVs was 21.3% in 2020. The high mark for the PHEV percentage of total EV sales was in 2012 at 74.6%, when there were only nine EVs available on the market and the Chevrolet Volt PHEV and Toyota Prius PHV were the top two-selling EVs and which accounted for 69% of all EV sales.
Looking at actual sales numbers and based on an EVAdoption estimate of 168,000 units, PHEV sales will likely fall below the 174,000 sold in 2021, the highest year for PVEV sales to date. Based on the EVAdoption estimate, PHEV sales would drop to ~19.4% of total EV sales in 2022.
Sales of PHEVs were mixed for the first three quarters of the year with the Jeep wrangler 4xe continuing to be the top-selling PHEV in the US for the second year in a row and seeing increasing sales each quarter. However, sales of the number two-selling PHEV, the Toyota RAV4 Prime declined each quarter and dropped 29.3% versus the same period in 2021. Additionally, the Toyota Prius Prime was down 66.7% versus the first three quarters in 2021.
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe had a compelling lease rate early in 2022 at around $300 a month, but is is now at well over $500 per month, which along with broader economic issues, will likely contribute to a significant decline in Q4 sales versus each previous 2022 quarter.
The other factor working against PHEVs is simply fewer compelling new available models compared to the number of BEVs. In 2022, 15 new BEVs came to market while only three new mass-produced PHEVs became available in the US in 2022. With Toyota bringing a new version of the Prius Prime to market in 2023 with 40 miles of range, and by most regards an attractive new design, we expect it to sell fairly well, and it could potentially keep the PHEV sales as a percentage of total sales at roughly the same 19%-20% mark in 2023.