Toyota and Tesla might lead the hybrid and electric vehicle sales charts – but they’re not the only automotive brands contributing to the 79,000 electrified cars sold last year. Here are Australia’s best-selling hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Sales of electrified vehicles in Australia broke records in 2021, with the 79,025 hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric (excluding Tesla) and hydrogen vehicles reported as sold eclipsing 2020’s count by 27.4 per cent.
Conventional, ‘self-charging’ hybrid vehicles made up a not-insignificant 89.2 per cent of those electrified sales – according to data supplied by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) – a staggering 92.9 per cent of which was accounted for market leader Toyota’s range of hybrid cars and SUVs.
Australia’s number-three best-selling car, the Toyota RAV4 medium SUV, representing 36.7 per cent of all plug-less hybrids sold last year, and 32.7 per cent of all electrified vehicles (again excluding Tesla electric cars, as well as mild-hybrid vehicles).
As reported, Australians purchased 5149 full battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) in 2021 – however, this figure excludes US electric vehicle giant Tesla, which does not submit its sales figures to the FCAI, but is believed to have sold as many as 10,000 cars in 2021, according to some estimates.
Meanwhile, 3372 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) were sold, along with 38 hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) – the low sales of the latter given there’s only two FCEVs on sale in Australia (Hyundai Nexo and Toyota Mirai), available only to selected fleets (and not the general public).
While Tesla and Toyota may be the sales leaders in electrified vehicle sales in Australia, there’s an array of other brands gunning for sales success for their own hybrid and electric cars. Drive has already covered 2021 electric vehicle sales in depth (click here to read more) – so this story will take a deep dive into Australia’s best-selling hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles last year.
Hybrid (HEV) sales in Australia in 2021
Australians purchased 70,466 conventional hybrid vehicles (also known as self-charging hybrids, or HEVs) in 2021 – an increase of 20.3 per cent over 2020 sales, and now accounting for seven per cent of all new passenger cars, SUVs, utes and vans sold in Australia.
Market leader Toyota leads the way for hybrid sales, with 65,491 vehicles reported as sold – a 20.5 per cent increase over the 54,335 it sold in 2020 – and accounting for 29.3 per cent of the company’s sales (or 44.8 per cent of Toyota cars and SUVs).
The mid-size RAV4 SUV topped the list with 25,850 sales – down 2.1 per cent, due to stock shortages and production stoppages – followed by the Corolla (14,657, up 5.1 per cent) and Camry (10,979, up 14.2 per cent, and accounting for 83.9 per cent of all Camry sales).
Equally, Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus broke records for hybrid sales in 2021, with petrol-electric models accounting for 38.8 per cent of the 9290 vehicles it reported as sold.
The outgoing NX300h mid-size SUV led the way outright with 992 sales (32.1 per cent of NX sales), closely followed by the UX250h small SUV, with 975 sales (55.9 per cent of UX sales). 87.3 per cent of all Lexus ES sedans sold were hybrids, the highest in the brand’s line-up (excluding the hybrid-only CT hatch). though a conventional petrol engine arrive until August.
Toyota and Lexus aren’t the only brands to offer plug-less hybrid vehicles in Australia. Kia was the ‘best of the rest’, reporting 465 Niro Hybrid small SUVs as sold (despite only going on sale in April/May), followed by Subaru XV and Forester Hybrids, with 402 and 356 sales reported respectively. The Hyundai Ioniq and Honda Accord follow, with 77 and 71 (est.) sales respectively.
Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sales in Australia in 2021
VFACTS industry sales data published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries reports 3372 plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) as sold in Australia in 2021 – up 99.4 per cent over 2020’s sales figure, but still trailing the 5149 fully-electric vehicles reported as sold last year.
Sitting atop the sales chart is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – which became Australia’s first plug-in hybrid from a mainstream manufacturer, upon its launch in 2014 – with 592 reported sales, or 4.1 per cent of all Outlander sales last year.
Nipping at its heels with 580 sales is a new entrant, the MG HS Plus EV (formerly HS PHEV), with 580 sales recorded since its launch in March 2021. Exclude January and February from the Outlander’s sales tally to level the playing field with the MG, and the HS Plus EV would take the sales crown by a margin of 10 to 20 sales.
It’s a tie for third place between the Volvo XC60 Polestar Engineered – or Recharge Plug-in Hybrid, as it’s now known – and the Mercedes-Benz GLC300e mid-size luxury SUVs, which account for 8.4 and 7.3 per cent of XC60 and GLC sales respectively.
Other plug-in hybrid sales result highlights include a close battle between the mechanically-related Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro PHEVs (with 68 and 60 sales respectively), 122 sales of the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid (outselling its BMW X5 rival, but second to the Volvo XC90 PHEV), and 25 recorded sales of Australia’s most expensive PHEV, the million-dollar Ferrari SF90.
* – No percentage has been specified, as the Peugeot PHEVs are yet to go on sale officially (the listed vehicles have been registered for manufacturer/media use).
** – Figure refers to SF90 sales as a percentage of total Ferrari sales.
New hybrids and plug-in hybrids in 2022
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.