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Whether automotive enthusiasts like it or not, the industry is changing. In the late 90s and early 2000s, Honda and Toyota mass-produced the first commercially successful hybrid vehicles. In 2010 GM introduced a plug-in hybrid, and Nissan unveiled the fully electric Nissan Leaf. Today in 2021, the future is certainly electric, and the present is starting to reflect the new trend as well.

Hybrid and EV stepping stones

A blue 2021 Toyota Prius hybrid.
The 2021 Toyota Prius | Toyota

The switch to alternative energy and sustainable fuel sources has been a long time coming. The journey that started at the turn of the century is finally coming to its climax as hybrid and EV models are positioned to disrupt the automobile industry. How did we go from a world that relied solely on gas to this electric future?

Before EVs could even be considered at a large scale commercially, automakers knew they had to ease their way into this new technology. Toyota had the foresight to develop the Toyota Prius in the early 2000s. The Prius was controversial because of its novelty and became one of the most successful hybrids because it had broken new ground in many ways.

Honda also tried their hand at a hybrid vehicle with the Honda Insight, but it didn’t quite stick the way the Toyota Prius did. Soon other automakers began to follow suit as greenhouse gases became more of an environmental threat. The Chevy Volt arrived in 2010 as the first widely available plug-in hybrid. In 2010 Nissan also released its Nissan LEAF, one of the first all-electric vehicles to be sold in high quantities.

Age of the hybrid and EV

A red Toyta RAV 4 Prime hybrid at the 112th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime | Raymond Boyd via Getty Images

In 2021 hybrid options are common. Electric vehicles are also much more common, and Teslas are a regular sight on the roads of big cities. Tesla is a huge part of the rise of the EV. Their vehicles use amazing technology and boast performance that is often better than most gas vehicles. Tesla is the undisputed leader in the EV race, but what about hybrids?

EVs are a much larger shift to make from gas-powered vehicles, leaving hybrid vehicles as the less extreme transition. As a result, automakers across the board have been offering some of their most popular models in trims that use electricity. Look no further than the 2021 Honda Accord and 2021 Hyundai Sonata as perfect examples.

The transition to hybrid options is an easier step for most automakers and a way to capitalize on the ongoing shift to alternative energy sources. Most of your favorite automakers already offer alternative energy options. Now companies like Ford, Honda, GM, and many more are looking to the future and fully electric vehicles.

What sells more?

A white 2021 Nissan LEAF electric vehicle.
The 2021 Nissan LEAF | Nissan

Driving the 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Changes the Game

While electric vehicles may be the flashier option because of their novelty, sales between hybrid and electric vehicles are actually competitive. Hybrid vehicles offer incredible gas mileage and are increasing in range using just electricity. Hybrids are the best of both worlds, offering a comfortable entry point into reducing emissions.

According to InsideEVs, hybrid vehicles outsold fully electric vehicles by over 50,000 units in April. Consumers were almost three times as likely to buy a hybrid instead of an EV. With models like the Toyota RAV4 Prime and Ford Escape plug-in hybrid out, it’s tough for fully electric vehicles to compete. Models that use gas and electricity have become a way to offer more fuel-efficient alternatives to consumers’ favorite vehicles instead of brand new EVs that seem more foreign to drivers.

The total market share of none gas-powered vehicles is reaching record heights. Hybrids are outselling EVs, and plug-in hybrids are on the rise as well. Automakers are only becoming more creative with their alternative energy releases. Who would have ever thought the Ford F-150 Lightning would exist in our lifetime? The road to a more sustainable automobile industry is sure to be full of new exciting hybrid models.