A recent Polk Automotive study reveals that many Model S owners traded in the cheaper Prius for Tesla’s all-electric sedan. At first it may not make sense that Prius owners would switch to a vehicle that costs nearly three times as much, but it isn’t all that surprising given that many Toyota Prius and hybrid owners once traded in their expensive SUVs and other luxury sedans to reduce their carbon footprint.
Now that there’s a more luxurious electric alternative in the form of the Tesla Model S, many more affluent hybrid owners have made the switch. The Polk Automotive study found that the largest percentage of “conquest sales,” which are buyers coming from another brand, come from Toyota (15.5 percent). Most of those buyers previously owned the Toyota Prius.
Why would Prius owners skip over other electric cars like the Nissan Leaf? While the Nissan Leaf is a cheaper fully electric car, its driving range is significantly smaller than the Model S. Also, since many Model S owners are wealthy, their garage is already filled with luxury cars, like Aston Martins and Ferraris, so the Model S is a more natural fit.
The trend is expected to continue with the introduction of more Tesla models like the upcoming Model X SUV and the cheaper Model E sedan, which will likely attract the most number of Prius owners with its $40,000 price tag.