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Toyota Hybrid Sales Surpass 15 Million Worldwide

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2020 Toyota Hybrid lineup, responsible for Toyota hybrids sales exceeding 15 million
Photo: Toyota

Toyota officially confirmed it has sold more than 15 million hybrid electric vehicles since the Prius initially launched in 1997, the first mass-produced full hybrid car. Over 200,000 of these were sold in Canada since 2000.

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According to the automaker, its 13 different hybrid models — offered across both the Toyota and Lexus brands — accounted for nearly 15 percent of its total 2019 sales in Canada. Today, Toyota hybrid sales have helped reduce CO2 emissions by more than 120 million metric tons compared to the sale of equivalent gasoline vehicles.

Toyota says it first decided to develop a hybrid vehicle more than 25 years ago, when Takeshi Uchiyamada, now known as the “father of the Prius,” led a team whose goal was to create a car for the 21st century. Since then, hybrid vehicle demand has only grown, and Toyota has continually refined its hybrid powertrain technology to deliver ever-lower emissions and ever-better fuel economy.

Hybrid vehicles, however, are not the end game. The Japanese automaker believes that battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles are the natural evolution of hybrids, and that the best strategy is to offer a variety of electric vehicles that best fit “regulations, market infrastructure and, ultimately, customer demand.”

While some companies believe BEVs are the future of the automobile, Toyota says it “does not see a one ‘winner takes all’ scenario,” but rather a future in which all kinds of different electric powertrain technologies play a role. And, with Toyota hybrid sales now exceeding 15 million worldwide, it also believes itself to be in “pole position” for that future.

“Of course, we must work hard on improving battery performance and lowering costs (of BEVs), which we are doing,” said Shigeki Terashi, Chief Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation. “But we must avoid having no plan until we overcome the hurdles related to both BEVs and FCEVs. In the meantime, we can contribute by continuing our work on HEVs.”

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