The new century was the start of a technical revolution in the automotive world. In 2000, three years on from its debut in Japan, the original Prius arrived in Europe as a sedan powered by a new powertrain that comprised both a conventional petrol engine and an electric motor.
Arrival of the Prius
Unlike any other car on the market, the Prius automatically switched between its different power sources, or used them in combination, to achieve the most efficient performance. As a “full” hybrid, it could use its electric motor alone, with zero fuel consumption and no tailpipe emissions. In this way, the Prius was true to the Latin roots of its name, being a car ahead of its time. We had actually been developing our hybrid technology since the 1960s, long before green issues became such a major cause of global concern and before the introduction of legislation to reduce greenhouse gases.