If there was any doubt remaining that hybrids are here to stay there certainly isn’t any longer, as Toyota have announced that as of February 14 this year their total number of global hybrid sales has now reached a staggering 10.05 million units. Here we will take a closer look at this truly remarkable achievement.
It all started with the Prius
While you can now find hybrid vehicles offered by a wide range of manufacturers, it was Toyota who started this eco-friendly trend back in 1997 with the release of the Toyota Prius – the world’s first mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle.
The first-generation Prius featured a 1.5L VVT-I gasoline engine paired with an electric motor that combined to reach speeds in excess of 80 km/hr. This ground-breaking vehicle was initially only sold in Japan – where it was named the 1997 and 1998 Car of the Year – yet within 3 years the Prius was being exported to numerous parts of the world, including North America.
Hybrids go next level with THS II
The hybrid system used in the first-generation Prius was known as the THS and it was nothing short of revolutionary; however, by 2003 Toyota had found ways to make it even better. This led to the launch of a second-generation Prius that was powered by THS II, also known as the Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system.
HSD represented a huge step forward in hybrid technology, as not only did it improve efficiency levels dramatically – providing fuel economy ratings as low as 3.6L/100km – but its power output was boosted by 50%, which meant it could reach speeds of up to 180 km/hr.
One of the biggest highlights of this remarkable system is that it combines a planetary gear-set with an electric drive system, which provides the vehicle with the ability to run entirely via the electric motor.
Eco-friendly driving catches on
While Toyota’s hybrid vehicles weren’t exactly welcomed with open arms by the auto industry, it didn’t take long for them to gain in popularity and by 2007 Toyota had sold its one millionth hybrid vehicle worldwide. The two million mark was surpassed in August 2009 and by the time Toyota’s 5 millionth hybrid vehicle was sold in March 2013 it was clear that hybrids were here to stay.
Toyota’s range of hybrid vehicles now includes 34 different models sold in more than 90 countries worldwide; better yet, hybrid vehicles are seriously reducing the impact vehicles have on the environment. For example, Toyota estimates that over the past 20 years their hybrid vehicles have collectively saved 29 million kilolitres of gasoline and meant that 77 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions have entered the atmosphere.
If you have yet to join the hybrid movement there has never been a better time to do so and Toyota continues to offer the most high tech and modern options. You’ll find a fantastic selection of both new and used hybrids here at Noral Toyota and you’ll find us here at 10129 MacDonald Ave Fort McMurray.