Are Hybrid Auto Sales Losing their Charge?

Posted On September 11, 2014 | by AllenCaron

We have been watching the automobile industry lately and, amidst all the good news about sales growth, one perhaps surprising detail stands apart: hybrid cars haven’t been sharing all the good cheer.

A study done by Edmunds.com, a highly-respected online automotive research company, showed that the growth in

Photo courtesy of Motortrend.com

Photo courtesy of Motortrend.com

electrically powered cars (EVs, plug-ins and hybrids) has stalled  due to the fact that hybrids, the biggest segment of the market by far, have actually declined. While EVs and plug-in hybrids have showed gains during the past year of 35 percent and 44 percent, respectively, hybrid sales have declined about 1 percent.

It’s true that the entire electric drive vehicle market remains only a fraction of the overall automobile market. For the first six months of the year, a period that saw more than 11.1 million vehicles sold, only about 400,000 were electrified, meaning all electric and hybrids. Among EVs, Tesla’s sales for the year are down about 1 percent and Chevy Volt sales are down about 12 percent. Only the Nissan Leaf sales are up, about 34 percent for the year so far.

The reasons for the decline in hybrid sales aren’t entirely clear but most experts suggest a combination of three things: the already excellent fuel efficiency of most new gasoline powered cars, the stabilization of gas prices and the price of vehicles themselves. Electric vehicles tend to be more expensive than gas vehicles.

Here are three smallcap companies focused on the electric vehicle and hybrid industries:

Miami Beach-based Car Charging Group (OTCQB: CCGI), installs and manages electric vehicle charging stations throughout the US and bills itself as the largest owner, operator and provider of EV charging services. The company in late August announced it had taken over the maintenance and operation of 27 Blink EV charging stations in the Nashville, TN area. CCGI also has offices in San Jose, CA, Phoenix and News York. CCGI closed May 12 at $0.97 with a market cap of $63.34 million. It closed Sept. 11 at $0.70, up 3 cents for the day, with market cap of $54.4 million Its 52-week trading range is $0.43 – $1.94.

Santa Rosa, CA-based ZAP (OTC: ZAAP.OB), formerly known as ZAPWORLD.COM, makes various types of all-electric vehicles including motorcycles, trucks, shuttle buses and sedans. The company announced in August its Jonway subsidiary in China would add three new parallel EV production lines at its manufacturing plant in Zhejiang Province “to support volume production of their EV product line.” To help combat air pollution issues, Chinese central and local governments offer rebate incentives to buyers of electric vehicles. ZAAP closed May 12 at $0.19 with a market cap of $58.99 million. It closed Sept. 11 at $0.125, up 1 cent for the day, with a market cap of $49.5 million. Its 52-week trading range is $0.07 – $0.44.

AMP Electric Vehicles, Inc is a subsidiary of Loveland, OH-based AMP Holdings Inc (OTCBB:AMPD), which makes electric drive systems for medium-duty, class 3-6 commercial truck platforms. AMP Holdings Inc. recently announced that it has finished its prototype E-GEN Drive(TM) electric truck and it will demonstrate the vehicles at the High Efficiency Truck User Forum Sept. 22-24 in Argonne, IL. The truck is designed to extend the range of an electric vehicle while simultaneously reducing the overall cost of the typical battery electric powertrain. The new system has been created as a package delivery vehicle, the diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles that typically stop and restart hundreds of times a day. AMPD closed May 12 at $0.12 with a market cap of $9.19 million. It closed Sept. 11 at $0.22, no change for the day, with a market cap of $32.32 million. Its 52-week trading range is $0.08 – $0.36.

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