America 2020: Our Hybrid Future

May 28, 2009

The year is 2020. Skynet lies in ruins, Nancy Grace sits on the U.S. Supreme Court, and one in five of you are buying hybrid vehicles. Also: everyone wears MC Hammer pants.

We're not taking any bets on those first two items, and we hope the last is dead wrong, but the odds on number three are pretty good. According to the auto analysts at JPMorgan, 19.4% of new vehicles sold in 2020 will be hybrids.

On the surface that figure may not seem too impressive--especially in light of the EVs and high-tech vehicles now in the works, which will allegedly take tomorrow's marketplace by storm. But the fact is, in 2008 hybrids accounted for less than 1% of new car sales, so a twentysomething-fold increase in just over a decade is nothing to sneer at. (Specifically, the analysts forecast a jump from 480,000 hybrid sales in 2008 to approximately 11.28 million in 2020.)

Why such an increase? According to JPMorgan, the two biggest reasons are (a) stricter emissions regulations in the U.S. and abroad, and (b) a drop in the average cost of hybrid drivetrains from $5,667 in 2008 to $1,890 by 2020. Both make sense, and the sales boost sounds reasonable--or at least more reasonable than Hammer pants.

[source: AutoNews, sub req'd]

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