TOYOTA Motor Corp. announced that as of the end of June, worldwide cumulative sales of its Prius gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle has surpassed the three-million-unit mark.
Toyota launched the first-generation Prius in 1997, becoming the world’s first mass-produced hybrid passenger car. The model’s second generation followed in 2003 and the third one came out in 2009. From the first to the third generation, Toyota said it has been able to reduce the cost of the hybrid system by two-thirds and lessen CO2 emissions from 114g/km to 89g/km (measured using the EU combined driving cycle).
Since the development of the first generation Prius, Toyota said it has positioned hybrid technology as the core for the development of various types of environment-friendly vehicles, and has placed emphasis on the development and production of key components required such as motors, inverters, batteries and electronic control units, giving rise to substantial investments.
According to the carmaker, it had applied for 1,261 patents relating to the third-generation Prius—progress that makes the car worthy of its name (derived from a Latin word meaning “to go before”).