Toyota sold 8 million hybrid vehicles in the past two decades and proved that hybrids have, despite unfavourable predictions at the begining of their journey, a very bright future.

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Toyota estimates that, as of July 31, its hybrid vehicles left approximately 58 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles of similar size and driving performance. Should hybrid owners choose a gasoline-powered vehicle instead, they wouldn't be able to save 22 million kiloliters of gasoline as well!

In 1995, when everything began, the future didn't seem bright and promising for hybrid cars, because the technology was still in its experimental stages and raising eyebrows was more common than hearing praise. Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada seems to be quite fond of telling the story about the initial difficulties, when his team wasn't able to get the first Prius prototype to move for 49 days, because they simply had no idea what the problem was. It wasn't until Christmas when they finally got it to move – but the car only managed to make 500 meters!

Twenty years later Toyota can proudly present its latest sales figures: eight million sold hybrid units. Since they started selling the Prius in 1997, Toyota has been gradually adding hybrid models throughout its range, from the compact Yaris Hybrid to the recently announced RAV4 Hybrid. As of this month, Toyota sells 30 hybrid passenger car models (including one plug-in hybrid model) in more than 90 markets around the world.

Aug. 24, 2015 Driving photo: Toyota

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