Toyota was the first to market with a mass-produced hybrid model in the form of the original Prius way back in 1997. Right now, across all platforms and markets, Toyota and Lexus reportedly offer 44 different hybrid models. As a result of public acceptance of electrified technology, Toyota says it has now sold 15 million vehicles worldwide with hybrid drive. That’s a hell of a milestone.
In the U.S. market, Toyota currently offers the 6th-gen Prius, as well as hybrid versions of the Corolla, Camry, Avalon, Rav4, and Highlander, with PHEV versions of the Prius and Rav4 as well. Over in the Lexus showroom, you’ll find hybrid versions of the ES, LS, UX, NX, RX, and LC. It should come as no surprise that the Rav4 Hybrid is the Japanese automaker’s quickest selling electrified model at the moment.
Demand for hybrids has only seemed to expand for Toyota, as it took from 1997 until 2013 to cross the 5 million unit threshold. It made the 10 million unit number in 2017. What previously took the company five years has happened in only three, as here we are in the second quarter of 2020 and the 15 million unit milestone has been passed.
Toyota’s European division credits the proliferation of hybrid tech across the Toyota lineup with putting it in a great position to take on the new European emissions regulations. Here’s a quick quote from Matt Harrison, Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Europe, to drive that point home.
“It is thanks to our hybrid sales that Toyota is well on its way to meeting the 95g/km target set by the EU for 2020 and 2021 in Europe, where CO2 regulations are the toughest in the world. In addition, our full hybrids are also incredibly effective at running without emissions for the majority of the time in cities.”
Toyota credits its hybrid model sales with having reduced CO2 emissions by more than 120 million tons worldwide. Toyota says it is planning to launch 40 new or updated electrified vehicles across the next five years, including at least 10 zero emissions vehicles (be they battery electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen fuel cell). While Toyota was quick on the draw with hybrid tech, it has lagged behind in battery electric acceptance, so this is potentially a very good thing.