It took an SUV and 20 years to make hybrids cool enough for fleets to buy them in any significant volume in Australia. So the original (and the best) can now retire knowing the job is done.
Toyota Australia has announced the local discontinuation of the Prius hybrid electric vehicle, following a successful 21-year stint as the first-ever Toyota hybrid to be offered in Australia.
The Prius was introduced locally in October 2001, laying the foundation for Toyota’s current leadership in electrified powertrain technology that saw a record 65,491 electrified vehicles sold in 2021.
Over the journey Toyota has sold 20,847 examples of the Prius, highlighting the success of the nameplate which combined with the Prius C hatch and Prius V people mover has resulted in 35,947 total sales of the fuel and emission-saving engine technology.
Toyota Australia Vice President Sales, Marketing and Franchise Operations Sean Hanley said the legacy of the Prius would be carried on by other low-emission Toyota hybrids.
“When we launched the Prius in October 2001, it was difficult to predict the enormous impact that Toyota hybrids would eventually have on the Australian automotive landscape.” Mr Hanley said.
“In 2001, we sold just a handful of Prius cars, taking until mid-2018 to reach 100,000 Toyota hybrid electric vehicle sales and surpassing the 200,000 sales mark in 2021.
“The Prius blazed a trail by offering Australian motorists a more efficient and low-emissions motoring experience – traits that have resonated with buyers more and more over time. In fact, hybrid electric vehicle technology, in terms of market acceptance, was not an overnight success. It has taken more than twenty years, but it still forms an important part of Toyota’s electrification strategy.
“It recognises practicality, performance and affordability whilst reducing the CO2 footprint of our vehicles. It enables Australian customers to have access to a technology that plays an important role in not leaving anyone behind, as we forge a future towards carbon neutral mobility.
“Last year Toyota sold more than 60,000 hybrid electric vehicles and we expect that 2022 will continue Toyota’s strong leadership in the sales of electrified vehicles and we look forward to continuing the Prius legacy through our broad range of powerful and efficient hybrid electric offerings.” he said.
The success of Toyota’s hybrid electric vehicles has seen the expansion of the technology across multiple model lines, including Corolla, Camry, RAV4, Kluger, C-HR, Yaris and Yaris Cross.
Twenty one years ago, the launch of the Prius laid the foundation for Toyota’s electrification journey and with the recent announcements of a growing and diverse range of electrified vehicles including BEVs, PHEVs and FCEVs, that journey is set to continue well into the future.
History of Prius
Ever since the Prius was released globally in 1997, Toyota has positioned hybrid electric vehicle technology as a core technology for the company, as evidenced by its widespread use across model lines.
An emphasis on the development and production of core components such as motors, inverters, batteries and electronic control units was borne from substantial investment from Toyota Motor Corporation, which has resulted in the smooth, responsive and efficient powertrains that Australians love.
The Prius first launched in Australia with a 1.5-litre hybrid powertrain producing 53kW/115Nm, teamed to a 33kW electric motor.
The second-generation version was launched at the 2003 New York International Auto Show, and by the time the third-generation version was released in 2009, the Prius had accounted for more than 1.2 million deliveries across 80 countries.
In 2012 the Prius family was expanded to include the new Prius C and Prius V, while the fourth-generation version launched in 2016 offered vast improvements in efficiency and driver enjoyment.