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  4. Hybrid electric

Hybrid Vehicles

Learn more about our hugely successful hybrid electric vehicles

Since producing the first Prius in 1997, we have sold more than fifteen million hybrid electric vehicles around the world, saving more than 118 million tonnes of CO2. Hybrid technology is the basis of all our alternative powertrains. Using our basic hybrid architecture, and the know-how we have gained, we can develop battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles that run on hydrogen fuel.

The success of hybrid technology


In the 21st century we have to find ways to make vehicles that are kinder to the environment and reduce our dependence on oil-based fuels. We see hybrids as a core technology for achieving these goals, combining different energy sources in a single powertrain to obtain outstanding fuel efficiency with significantly lower emissions, at a price customers can afford.

Since we introduced the Prius, our first mass-produced hybrid car, in 1997, we have continually improved our hybrid know-how. Today our hybrids are not only more efficient than ever, with around a 10% improvement in fuel consumption with each generation, they also deliver stronger performance and are renowned for their hard-wearing quality, reliability and low running costs.

To make the most of hybrid's potential to reduce emissions, we aim to develop affordable technology that can be enjoyed by as many customers as possible. This is why we have increased our hybrid range from a single model to 44 different models.  As the range of different hybrid models increases, so the technology reaches more potential customers. This helped us meet our goals of selling 15 million hybrids worldwide, reaching an annual sales rate of 1.5 million vehicles from 2020.

How do hybrids work?


Our hybrid system uses a gasoline engine and an electric motor. It is a “full” hybrid, which means that the vehicle can be driven using its electric power alone, as well as with the engine and electric motor working together. This makes it different from other “mild” hybrid systems, in which the electric motor only works to boost the performance of the petrol engine.

Electricity is generated as you drive the car, capturing energy created when you brake or slow down. This power is then stored ready for use in the hybrid battery. A power control unit automatically determines the most efficient power source to use at any moment, whether you are in slow moving traffic or on the open road. In stop-start traffic, our full hybrid system switches to all-electric EV mode to maximise the benefit of driving with zero tailpipe emissions and zero fuel consumption. If battery power runs low, or you increase your speed, the hybrid engine automatically restarts.

Our achievements

  • Over 118 million tonnes of CO2 saved
  • Our hybrids produce only very low levels of NOx, improving air quality
  • 44 hybrid models worldwide. 20 models in Europe
  • In 2019, more than one in every two Toyotas we sell in Europe is hybrid-powered