Toyota Reports 1 Million Hybrids Sold

By: Anthony Fontanelle

The popularity of the gas-electric hybrid Toyota Prius in the United States cannot be denied. Its fuel efficiency made it a favorite among car buyers as the awareness concerning the threat of global warming increases. The increasing price of gasoline has also made the Prius a favorite among car buyers.

Recently, Japan's largest car manufacturer Toyota reported that they have sold more than a million units of hybrid cars all over the world. The company announced that there are approximately 1,047,000 units of the fuel efficient vehicles as of the 31st of May this year with Prius having the bulk of the sale.

The Prius made its debut in Toyota's home country of Japan in 1997 as well as in Europe. After the positive acceptance of Japanese car buyers of the Prius and the increased demand for fuel efficient vehicle in the United States, Toyota introduced the Prius in the country and the vehicle was received with much praise. The Prius was introduced in the United States auto market in 2000.

In 2003, the Toyota Prius received its first major redesign. Toyota made the car larger so that it can attract more attention from Americans who are looking for roomy vehicles without sacrificing fuel economy.

The redesign made the second generation of the Prius into a hatchback. Aside from the body style change, fuel efficiency was improved, thanks to an improved powertrain which is called the Hybrid Synergy Drive. Toyota made changes to the way the vehicle powers its air conditioning unit thus reducing the load on the small internal combustion engine.

As far as the construction of the second-generation Prius is concerned, it was made more aerodynamic. During the release of the redesigned Prius, it has the second lowest coefficient of drag of only 0.26. The Honda Insight is the only vehicle then that has a lower coefficient of drag at 0.25.

Another improved aspect of the Prius in 2003 is its regenerative braking system. This means that the car's battery pack is provided with more power. According to the company, the improved regenerative braking system does not rely heavily on the friction-type brakes. With that improvement, Toyota claims that the stock brake pads will last for the entire life of the car.

Aside from the Prius, the Hybrid Synergy Drive has been used by the company on other auto models. The Toyota Camry has a hybrid version as well as the Toyota Highlander. The hybrid version of the Highlander uses the electric motor to enhance its performance which is considered to be similar in performance to a Celica equipped with a system.

Aside from the Camry and the Highlander, the company also offers hybrid versions of their Lexus vehicles. The Lexus RX350 has a hybrid version known as the Lexus RX400h.

The Prius and other hybrid vehicles from Toyota are being marketed in more than 40 countries across the world. In Japan, Toyota reported a sale of 345,000 units of their hybrid vehicles. Outside Toyota's home country, the company sold 702,000 hybrids. The Prius is currently the best selling hybrid vehicle. According to the company, the more than 1 million hybrid vehicles sold contributed to a reduction of an estimated 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emission.

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