The lure of the Toyota Prius and other hybrid cars helped drive healthy sales of electric and alternative-powered vehicles last year, according to new data that shows the hybrid market has grown by 960 percent since 2000. New hybrid vehicle registrations totaled 83,153 in 2004, an 81 percent increase over the year before.
Toyota is on track to double Prius sales again this year. The company sold 22,880 Prius cars in the first three months of the year, more than double the number it sold in the first three months of 2004, according to Autodata Corp. Toyota has said it plans to produce 100,000 Prius cars for the North American market this year.
Miller said hybrids could make up 30 to 35 percent of the U.S. market by 2015 as long as automakers remain committed to producing them and market to people who are passionate about driving them. While some analysts believe there’s a limit to the number of consumers who will pay more for a hybrid, Miller said the cost of hybrids eventually will come down.
“Some people are thinking there’s absolutely no reason that all vehicles shouldn’t be hybrid. The technology is there.”