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Electric vehicles (EVs) are too much of a commitment for many car shoppers. Between range anxiety, battery cost concerns, and charger availability, many would-be adopters are steering clear. However, there is another reason drivers are opting out of electric vehicle ownership: freezing temperatures. In fact, cold weather is one of the reasons potential electric car buyers are buying hybrids instead.

Cold weather is one of the reasons American car buyers are opting for hybrids over EVs

A Tesla Model 3 EV in the snow.
A Tesla Model 3 in the snow | Tesla

It’s no secret that cold weather decreases the range of battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Unfortunately, cold weather could rob an electric car of 36% of its real-world driving range, per AP News.

Of course, that isn’t a deal-breaker for every kind of climate-mindful car buyer; shoppers on the coasts (where most EV purchases happen) have access to a denser charging architecture. As a result, a 310-mile Tesla Model Y offering around 198 miles of cold-compromised range isn’t prohibitive.

However, other parts of the country don’t have the same frequency of chargers as Southern California. Consequently, a rural car shopper might not be able to make do with a 114-mile MINI Electric Hardtop after the cold cannibalizes some of its range. 

Americans are voting with their wallets

The gulf between EVs and hybrids was at its closest in 2022. Specifically, Americans bought around 755,000 hybridized vehicles. On the other hand, car buyers drove home in close to 713,000 electric cars, SUVs, and trucks. While 42,000 units don’t sound like a small amount, it is much closer than the disparity between the two green vehicle types in 2023. 

No, the American public bought a shocking 1.2 million hybrids from January to November last year. It’s an impressive figure without comparison. However, the preference becomes that much more evident year over year. Car buyers took home around 227,000 fewer EVs than they did hybridized rides in the first 11 months of 2023.

Even with the seemingly unstoppable segment popularity of the Tesla Model 3, EVs can’t keep up with their hybridized counterparts. According to iSeeCars, three hybrids stole spots in the fastest-selling used cars of 2023, whereas no EVs made the cut. All this despite rapidly falling average electric car prices year over year. Americans clearly see hybridized vehicles as a green alternative to BEVs.

Source: AP News, iSeeCars