When hybrids started becoming popular, the new-fangled engine-motor combo was reserved for economy cars. But what about larger vehicles—cars and trucks that struggle to get decent miles per gallon? Seems like they would be a natural for the hybrid system, not to mention that their size makes it easier to accommodate the battery pack without compromising interior space.
But consumers haven’t embraced the idea. In fact, sales have been so poor that several automakers seem to be dropping their larger hybrid offerings. USA Today reports that General Motors has already stopped offering hybrid versions of the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs. This despite the fact that the Escalade hybrid could give a driver 21 miles per gallon mixed driving, compared to 16 for the gasoline version—a 31% boost according to Escalade manager David Schiavone. “No one bought them . . . and they were great,” he says.
According to the senior editor for fuel efficiency and green car for Edmunds.com, John O’Dell, hybrids in luxury vehicles make “a very expensive car even more expensive. We’re not at the point where people are lining up to say, ‘I’ll spend more money to save the environment or to cut oil use,'” especially when a hybrid system can add $6,000 to the price of a vehicle.