The questions of whether and when sales of plug-in electric cars will resume their climb after a static 2015 are much on the minds of green-car advocates these days.
It's taken as an article of faith that cars with plugs will grow as a proportion of the global market, ultimately supplanting large parts of the current gasoline fleet in decades to come.
But hybrid-electric vehicles remain far better-selling at the moment, with about 3 percent of the U.S. market—versus roughly 1 percent for plug-in cars.
So we asked our Twitter followers when that ratio would end, and plug-in cars would sell better than hybrids in the U.S.
Four out of 10 respondents to an earlier survey had indicated they felt electric-car sales would equal or surpass those of cars with combustion engines by 2030.
So we asked about the earlier step: when will cars with plugs sell better than hybrids, in the U.S. market?
When will plug-in electric car sales exceed those of hybrids in the U.S.?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) September 12, 2016
The results were roughly in line with those of the previous survey, with almost the same four in 10 (39 percent, actually) saying that would happen by 2025.
Another 32 percent felt it would happen sooner, by 2020.
Of our respondents, 16 percent were more pessimistic, saying that electric cars wouldn't exceed conventional hybrids until 2030.
And a small 13 percent were incredibly optimistic, suggesting that it would happen by the end of 2018, or just two years and a fraction from today.
2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium
A lot of the hopes for electric cars over the next 12 months are riding on the shoulders of the 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt EV hatchback, which will go on sale in at least a few locations before the end of this year.
The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, with a 25-mile EPA-rated electric range and 54 mpg combined when its battery is depleted, will also likely do well.
Its predecessor, the underwhelming 2012-2015 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, had only 6 miles of continuous electric range (11 miles total), but still sold 50,000 units in the U.S. over its life.
Many of those likely went to California drivers seeking its coveted single-occupant carpool-lane access—which its Prius Prime successor will also offer.
The Prius Prime, however, can actually run in electric-only mode at freeway speeds, not to mention that it's tied for the highest energy efficiency of any car sold in the U.S. for the 2017 model year.
Which may go to prove that refinements of traditional hybrid cars have some life left in them yet.