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Tesla is blaming struggling EV sales on hybrid craze

Nora Naughton   

Tesla is blaming struggling EV sales on hybrid craze
  • Tesla is blaming hybrids for stealing EV sales.
  • Inexpensive hybrid cars have become a popular choice for green-car shoppers.

Tesla is pointing the finger at hybrids as its electric cars experience a drop in demand.

In the opening page of its first-quarter earnings presentation Tuesday, Tesla blamed an industry-wide prioritization of these partially battery-powered cars for putting pressure on global EV sales and — by extension — Tesla's sales.

"While positive for our regulatory credits business, we prefer the industry to continue pushing EV adoption, which is in-line with our mission," Tesla wrote.

Elon Musk's Tesla is right that hybrids are currently having a moment.

Major automakers like GM — which were once all-in on EVs — are now prioritizing hybrid models as EV demand softens, and Toyota, once thought to be an EV laggard, is dominating the green car market with its hybrid lineup.

The problem for Tesla: It doesn't sell hybrids.

Musk's EV company has been slashing prices for the past year and a half in an effort to boost sales. But a new cohort of green-car shoppers is looking for more than an affordable price.

After years of wealthy early adopters clamoring for expensive new technology, today's EV shopper is more frugal and practical — and more interested in hybrid models that fit their everyday needs.

This phenomenon showed up in Tesla's first-quarter deliveries report earlier this month when the company reported its lowest quarterly sales numbers since 2022.