With two engines, one petrol and one electric, the Toyota Prius is probably the most famous hybrid technology car in the world. The two systems are designed to work in harmony to recycle the energy that would usually be lost when the car slows down or brakes. The principle is that this offers the driver great fuel economy in all road conditions and particularly in urban environments when stopping and starting in traffic is an issue. The Prius’ hybrid engine makes for very low carbon emissions, too. For these reasons it has been popular with car buyers who are ecologically aware and want to minimise their carbon footprint per mile driven.
Formerly a compact sedan car when it was being developed by Toyota engineers, the car first went on sale in Japan as far back as 1997. Having been altered to accept the twin drive systems, this meant that Toyota ended up launching the world’s very first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. By May 2008, Toyota had sold over one million of the cars, which is some achievement when you consider how novel the technology was for car dealerships when it was first marketed. In 2011, Toyota increased the model’s range to include the Prius v and c. The v is an extended hatchback version of the Prius, whilst the c is a subcompact.
Now in its third generation, the Prius won the Car of the Year in Japan, when the latest version was launched in 2009. Toyota has sold about getting on for two million of its third-generation model across all market in the world.