As electric cars’ rise spurs manufacturers to give a second thought to the old, cheaper tech, hybrid cars are seeing a quiet revival. For electric-car makers, 2020┬áhas been an exceptional one. Investors have welcomed pure-electric car manufacturers, pushing to stratospheric heights the share prices of Tesla Inc., as well as Chinese rival Nio Inc. Drivers, are now coming on board, with, amid the pandemic, EV shipments from China to Europe growing.

However, with over 500 EV versions anticipated to be officially available by 2022, the industry risks becoming a competitive one. Many traditional automotive producers are multiplying their choices, seeking to determine which innovations can prevail in the years between now and a complete change away from the combustion engines. If they sink or swim will be decided by the investment decisions they will make today.

Although hybrids, which integrate the power of both the gasoline engine with the electric motors as well as batteries, have become more than 20 years, they still see interest even as the Electric Vehicles loom big. The very first Prius launched in Japan in the year 1997. Among those launching new hybrid models of their signature vehicles are Ford Motor Co. as well as Toyota Motor Corp. and investing again in their distribution networks of hybrid parts. Although non-plug-in hybrids in Europe, China and California are not entitled to the very same lucrative discounts given to electric cars, their popularity after a multi-year recession has improved.

In the U.S., hybrid sales grew 17 percent from 2018 last year; they increased 22 percent in the European Union during the same timeframe as the country prepares for tighter carbon regulations. Japanese brands in China, which hold the highest percentage of the hybrid market worldwide, have sold over 30 percent more hybrids, making the sector one of the quickest increasing in the market. By comparison, electric car sales rose by 6 percent in 2019 from the year 2018, just below the double-digit increases of previous years.

There are many explanations why. Hybrids, while not triggering the same range fear as EVs, give savings at the pump. And since a gasoline engine helps electric vehicles, thereby having smaller and far less costly battery packs, their total prices are reduced, an enticing proposition for a buyer who needs a safer vehicle for the world but cannot pay out top dollar for a Tesla.

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