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China drives EV boom this year amid strong demand for hybrid vehicles

Electric vehicle sales have risen sharply this year, led by growth in China and a strong demand for hybrid vehicles in particular, according to a report from Counterpoint Research. 

The report, released Monday, showed that sales of EV units globally, including fully battery-powered vehicles (BEVs) and hybrids, were up 18% in the first three months of 2024 compared with the same period last year. 

Sales of hybrid vehicles, which have both electric motors and combustion engines, vastly outpaced those of full battery-powered alternatives, rising 46% year over year. BEV sales rose 7%.

"The cheaper upfront cost of [hybrids] when compared to [battery EVs] and the availability of a fuel tank that eliminates range anxiety were among the main reasons for high [hybrid] demand," Counterpoint research analyst Abhik Mukherjee said in the report. 

The data follows recent reports that suggest hybrid adoption is now outpacing that of fully electric vehicles amid concerns about weak resale values of the former and the possibility of current BEV technology becoming obsolete soon.

"Buying mid-priced [hybrids] is a more logical choice for consumers since their prices are comparable to or lower than most of [battery electric vehicles]," the report said.

Chinese companies have been a huge beneficiary of the rise in demand for electric vehicles, especially firms that sell both BEVs as well as hybrids. 

According to Counterpoint, EV sales in China jumped 28% in the first quarter of 2023, amid an ongoing price war that has pushed down costs for consumers. 

The country's largest EV maker, BYD, saw sales of hybrid vehicles increase by 7% in the first three months of this year, accounting for nearly one-third of the global hybrid market, followed by Geely