- 20 years of history in hybrid technology
- Launch way back became whole new segment
- 34 hybrids now selling in 90+ countries
TOKYO, Japan – Toyota’s global hybrid vehicle sales have topped 10-million and so, the automaker says, shown the staying power of technology now emerging as a mainstream solution to reduce negative atmospheric contamination.
Toyota has encouraged the mass adoption of hybrid vehicles around the globe based on the stance that environment-friendly vehicles could only make a significant difference if widely used,
Toyota launched the Coaster Hybrid EV in August 1997 and the Prius – the world’s first mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle – in December that year. Since then, Toyota says, hybrids have received tremendous global support and 10-million sales were reached only nine months after nine-million units at the end of April 2016 – just before the South African launch of the fourth-generation Prius.
The first generation Prius, Toyota recalled, was in response to the resource and environment-related issues of the 21st-century. Its development team was convinced that, whatever the result, a hybrid vehicle was essential rather than just possible.
The Toyota Hybrid System (THS) in the first units evolved into THS II in 2003 and extended to a number of Toyota vehicles.
“The fourth-generation Prius,” Toyota told The Corner in a media release, “was developed not only with environmental performance in mind but also with outstanding driving performance for people who wanted a car that was fun to drive.
“Since Toyota launched its first hybrid vehicle 20 years earlier the circumstances surrounding environmentally friendly vehicles have changed dramatically and led to the Prius creating a new customer standard of choosing cars based on their environmental performance.
“As the number of companies developing and launching their hybrid vehicles increased so a new segment – “hybrid vehicles” – was established.”
Takeshi Uchiyamada, chairman of the Toyota board and known as the father of the Prius, added: “When we launched Prius nobody knew what a hybrid was. Those who drove it were called geeks or other names. Today, thanks to those early adopters, hybrids have ridden a wave of success .
“We are grateful to every customer who has helped us to reach 10-million hybrid sales. We are committed to continue working with them to tackle global environmental issues.”
HYBRID TO HYDROGEN
Toyota estimates, as of January 31 2017, that Toyota’s hybrids used instead of conventional vehicles of similar size and driving performance have prevented 77-million tons of CO2 emissions entering the atmosphere and saved 29-million kilolitres of petrol.
The hybrid concept includes all the component technologies necessary to develop environment-friendly vehicles, from battery electric to fuel-cell hydrogen vehicles, allowing the use of various fuel combinations – with Toyota committed to expanding its range of such vehicles.
There are already 34 Toyota hybrid models running in more than 90 countries / regions worldwide – including South Africa where Yaris, Auris and Prius are listed along with sister brand Lexus’ CT 200h, ES 300h, NX 300h and RX 400h SE.