Global plug-in electric vehicle sales—including hybrids—broke all-time records in December 2023 despite widespread concern among manufacturers over a slowdown in consumer demand.
Sales database platform EV-Volumes recorded nearly 1.56 million registrations for new plug-in electric vehicles in the last four weeks of the year, up 12% from the previous high of 1.39 million set in November 2023 and 23% from December 2022’s 1.26 million.
Annual EV sales surpassed 13.6 million units in 2023, accounting for 16% of total car purchases. That number represents an increase of roughly 30% from 2022’s full-year plug-in vehicle sales total of 10.5 million.
While December’s EV sales increase came amidst souring sentiments toward the battery-powered car market from automakers, data from the month reflects a broad shift among consumers toward hybrids. While fully electrified vehicle sales were nearly double those of hybrids, the latter saw higher year-over-year demand in December, rising 31% compared to the segment average of 23%.
The same is true for the rest of 2023. Electricity-only cars accounted for 11% of all auto registrations and were up 30% year-over-year on an annual basis. On the other hand, Hybrids, occupying just 5% of the market, saw registrations rise 47%, again heavily outpacing the overall increase in EV sales.
While demand for plug-in electric vehicles continues to improve, analysts and manufacturing executives are in agreement that adoption remains far behind schedule. This has led some companies to postpone plans that would heavily boost production in the coming years.
But while overall EV sales may be slower than expected and pure-electric cars remain the dominant choice for customers in the segment, the sudden popularity of hybrids is not going unnoticed. Toyota is one of several automakers prioritizing battery-gas models during the industry’s shift to electrification. Should consumers gravitate toward hybrids in even greater numbers in 2024, it is possible they will soon become the dominant player in the segment.