Toyota Motor Corporation announced recently that cumulative global sales of its hybrid vehicles reached 10.05 million units as of January 31, surpassing the 10 million-unit mark. More than a numerical milestone, this demonstrates the staying power of a technology that is now emerging as a mainstream solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.
Helping to mitigate the environmental effects of automobiles has long been a priority for Toyota. Based on the stance that environmentally-friendly vehicles can only truly have a significant positive impact if they are widely used, Toyota has encouraged the mass-market adoption of hybrid vehicles across the globe. Toyota launched the Coaster Hybrid EV minibus in August 1997 and the Prius―the world’s first mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle―in December of the same year. Since then, Toyota hybrid vehicles have received tremendous support from consumers around the world.
Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief Representative of Middle East & North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation, said, “We are grateful to each and every one of our customers who has supported us in our journey towards sustainable mobility and helped us achieve this important milestone. The steady increase in hybrid sales reflects the worldwide appeal of hybrid vehicles backed by Toyota’s significant efforts in developing ever better cars. Our hybrid technology delivers not only great fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions, but it also provides a smooth, comfortable and engaging driving experience, which leads to the highest satisfaction rates from our customers.”
Yoshitsugu added: “We sincerely appreciate the support of our customers for our environmentally-friendly initiatives, which have encouraged us to continue our efforts in developing hybrid technologies. We remain committed to continue working hand-in-hand with them as we look to tackle global environmental issues and create cars that exceed customer expectations.”
As reductions in greenhouse gas emissions increasingly became a problem of global magnitude, the first-generation Prius represented Toyota’s response to the resource and environment-related issues of the twenty-first century. The Prius development team was convinced that, whatever the results of their efforts, the development of a hybrid vehicle was essential for the future, and that they had to do what was necessary rather than what was simply possible. With this in mind, the team unveiled the world’s first mass-production hybrid passenger vehicle to the world.
The Prius proved so popular with customers that it became a byword for an ‘environmentally-friendly vehicle.’ The Toyota Hybrid System (THS), which was incorporated in the first-generation Prius, evolved into THS II in 2003, and was thereafter rolled out in a wide range of Toyota vehicles. The fourth-generation Prius, which became the first vehicle to be built on Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), was developed not only with environmental performance in mind, but also with outstanding driving performance for customers wanting to purchase a car that was fun to drive.
Since Toyota launched its first hybrid vehicle 20 years ago, the circumstances surrounding environmentally-friendly vehicles have changed dramatically. The growing popularity of the Prius led to the creation of a new customer standard of choosing cars based on their environmental performance. As the number of companies developing and launching hybrid vehicles increased, so a new segment of ‘hybrid vehicles’ was established. In addition, now that customers around the world are opting to purchase hybrid vehicles and other fuel-efficient vehicles, the entire automobile industry has been able to contribute to the solution of global environmental problems.
As of January 31, 2017, Toyota estimates that the use of Toyota’s HVs in lieu of conventional gasoline-powered vehicles of similar size and driving performance has resulted in approximately 77 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions and has saved approximately 29 million kiloliters of gasoline.
Toyota announced the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 in October 2015, setting challenges that it will undertake to help reduce the negative impacts of automobiles on the global environment to as close to zero as possible, and to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society. Toyota has positioned hybrid technologies as core environmental technologies for the 21st century.
Hybrid encompasses all of the component technologies necessary for the development of environmentally-friendly vehicles, from battery electric to fuel cell hydrogen vehicles, which facilitate the use of different fuel combinations.