Don’t Underestimate Electrification

Given the decrease in hybrid and electric vehicle sales, largely predicated on reduced gas prices, people are fairly certain that the entire category is ready for a tumble.

Given the decrease in hybrid and electric vehicle sales, largely predicated on reduced gas prices, people are fairly certain that the entire category is ready for a tumble.

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Take the poster-child vehicle for electrification, the Toyota Prius. Through April, there have been 55,535 Prius models delivered in the U.S., which is down 9.9% compared to the same period in 2014. However, when you compare that number to the delivery numbers for some other small cars, it doesn’t look so dire.

For example, there have been 33,686 Dodge Darts delivered, and that is up 52%.

If you add together all of the Buick passenger cars—the LaCrosse, Regal and Verano—you come up with a total of 31,846, or 57% of the sales of the Prius.

The Ford Mustang is on fire, up 60% this year, and its sales are 42,955.

So this whole death of the hybrid may be greatly exaggerated.

And it should be noted that the Prius is long in the proverbial tooth, with a new one to be launched later this year. Everyone likes new.

Another way of looking at this electrification situation comes from a study done by IHS of the automotive powertrain semiconductor market. They found that there was 8.3% growth in 2014.

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Notably, they are projecting that given the demand for plug-in hybrids and stop-start systems, there will be a compound annual growth rate of nearly 6% per year for the next five.

In terms of valuation, that’s from $7.2-billion in 2014 to $9.5-billion in 2019.

Said Ahad Buksh, automotive semiconductors analyst at IHS, “Propulsion systems for electric and hybrid vehicles demand, on average, 10 times more semiconductor content than a conventional engine. Without electrification, the powertrain semiconductor market would have only grown 3.1% annually for the next five years, whereas electrification is now accelerating the market at 6% growth rate annually.”