The Little Hybrid Car that CouldToyota has recently announced that worldwide sales of its Prius hybrid gasoline-electric car have hit the 1 million milestone. More precisely, as of the end of April, the total number was about 1,028,000.
The first generation Prius hybrid was introduced in 1997 in Japan and in 2000 in the US, but it was really the 2004 model year second generation that turned it into a hit, almost tripling sales in a year (from 43.2k in 2003 to 125.7k in 2004).
How Much CO2 was Saved by Prius Hybrid Cars?Toyota "believes that Prius vehicles worldwide have contributed to a reduction in CO2 emissions (considered a cause of global warming) by producing approximately 4.5 million tons less CO2 when compared with gasoline-powered vehicles in the same class and of similar size and driving performance."
The Real Impact of the Toyota Prius HybridBut that might not even be the Prius' main benefit.
By giving those who want better fuel economy - especially in the US where choices are more limited - a way to vote with their wallets, and by showing other carmakers that there was a market for greener cars, the Prius might have changed the whole landscape. It probably would have happened anyway sooner or later, but Toyota showed some vision by investing into hybrid technology during the 90s (remember oil at $20-30 per barrel?).
But now's not the time for Toyota to rest on its laurels. This was just a first step, and while they deserve credit for it, the atmosphere doesn't care about that. What we need is much biggest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, and that will require, among other things, plug-in hybrids and electric cars.
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More on Toyota's 1 million Prius Hybrids Sold
::Worldwide Prius Sales Top 1 Million Mark
::Worldwide Prius hybrid sales hit 1 million
::Prius hits 1 M in Sales, Saves 450 M Tons of Carbon