Ford Joins Toyota’s Lead into More Hybrid Powertrain Production

In a bid to plug the gap between automaker’s over-blown sales ambitions for BEVs and consumer demand for practical ‘green’ transport here-and-now, Ford has joined the race towards self-charging hybrid vehicles.

The US giant is the latest of several manufacturers, led by stolidly powertrain-agnostic Toyota, planning to build and sell hundreds of thousands of hybrid vehicles in North America over the next five years, Reuters news agency reports. Interest in hybrids is resurfacing as consumer demand for BEVs remains stubbornly sluggish. Several consumer surveys suggest a variety of reasons for from high sticker price tags, continuing concerns about real-world driving range, lengthy charging times and a shortage of public charging stations.

S&P Global Mobility estimates hybrids will more than triple over the next five years, accounting for 24% of US new vehicle sales in 2028. Sales of BEVs will claim about 37%, leaving ICE powered vehicles, including low voltage mild hybrids, with a nearly 40% share.

Car sales in the US this year will see hybrids account for 7%, BEVs 9% and ICE vehicles taking more than 80%.

Historically, hybrids have accounted for less than 10% of total US sales, with Toyota’s long-running Prius among the most popular models. The Japanese automaker has consistently said hybrids will play a key role in the company’s long-range electrification plans as it slowly ramps up investment in pure BEVs. Meanwhile, Stellantis will be offering US buyers a choice of different powertrains, including hybrids, until when, or if, sales of BEVs accelerate later in the decade.

As the latest to roll out more aggressive hybrid plans, Ford’s chief executive, Jim Farley, surprised analysts last month saying the automaker expects to quadruple its hybrid sales over the next five years after earlier promising an aggressive push into BEVs. Farley, said: “This transition to EVs will be dynamic. We expect the EV market to remain volatile until the winners and losers shake out.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_  and Threads

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