Toyota says it recently passed the milestone of more than 15 million hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) sales worldwide since the Prius was first launched in 1997.
Today in Europe, sales of HEVs have passed the 2.8 million mark, with a range of 19 different HEV models offered across the Toyota and Lexus brands, which in 2019 accounted for 52% of total volume, and 63% in West Europe.
Toyota’s decision to develop HEVs started over 25 years ago, when Takeshi Uchiyamada led a team to develop a car for the 21st century, one which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants. The first-generation Prius was launched in 1997 around the time of the Kyoto Protocol signing, which gave new momentum to the environmental movement. Today, 15 million hybrid sales later, Toyota has made a significant contribution to the environment as its hybrid electric technology has reduced CO2 emissions worldwide.
“It is thanks to our hybrid sales that Toyota is well on its way to meeting the 95 g/km target set by the EU for 2020 and 2021 in Europe, where CO2 regulations are the toughest in the world,” says Matt Harrison, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Europe.
“In addition, our full hybrids are also incredibly effective at running without emissions for the majority of the time in cities,” he adds.
Beyond the current 4th generation hybrid system, Toyota is continuing to refine its hybrid technology to achieve even lower emissions and ever-better fuel efficiency. Today, hybrid electric vehicles are affordable, accessible and convenient for customers across a broad spread of European markets, notes the company.
While Toyota believes that HEVs are an essential part of the future overall mix of electrified vehicles, two decades of electrification experience also play into the company’s multi-powertrain strategy. The company provides and will continue to provide various types of electrified vehicles to reduce emissions based on regulations, market infrastructure and ultimately customer demand. Toyota envisions a future where the different electrified technologies, including hybrids and plug-ins (PHEV), fuel cell (FCEV) and battery electric (BEV) vehicles, all play a part.
As a result of its long hybrid electric vehicle experience, the company has deep transferable expertise in the core electrification technologies which are common across all form of electrified powertrains. Over two decades of continuous development of electric motors, batteries and power control units has taught Toyota how to manage and reuse energy efficiently, providing a range of electrified options for Toyota and Lexus customers through HEVs, PHEVs, BEVs and FCEVs.
To realize this vision in Europe, Toyota is planning to launch 40 new or updated electrified vehicles by 2025, across all technologies, including at least 10 ZEVs. Its hybrid electric vehicles will remain a core part of the powertrain mix meeting customers’ needs and helping drive down emissions together with other types of electrified vehicles.
Photo: Toyota’s Sustainability Policy web page