Name a hybrid within two seconds; if you thought of the Prius, it’s only normal. Since its debut in the world market in 2001, the Toyota Prius has quickly become a household name for hybrid cars all over the world. This year marks the hybrid car’s 12th year in the world market, dubbed by many as the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the US.
This fuel-efficient Tri Cities Toyota began from the car maker’s stand on the environment in 1992 in the form of a document called the Toyota Earth Charter. It outlined several “green” goals for the company to achieve in the 21st century such as zero emissions. In 1993, Yoshiro Kimbara, executive vice president of Toyota’s R&D at the time, formed the G21. It was a committee that was put in charge of researching car designs for the 21st century.
G21 got to work and released the Prius concept at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show, which was put into production two years later. The word “prius” is Latin for “prior”, but the true reason for the name is unknown to this day. One theory suggests that “prius” was chosen because it would be the predecessor of future cars of its kind.
Toyota planned to release the Prius in Japan in 1998, but the date was moved to a year earlier. It was met with mixed reactions from receiving an award for excellence in green engineering to issues in performance. A few drivers who were involved in the testing the Prius weren’t really impressed by the car.
The early versions lacked power; the Prius could go from 0 to 60 in 13 seconds, three seconds more than the Corolla. In 2003, a major redesign effort gave later versions of the Prius not only more power, but improved fuel efficiency. With a little help from Hollywood stars who took notice, the Prius enjoyed double sales in 2004 and 2005. For the 13-year-old hybrid car, its future can only get better.
Learn more about the development timeline of the Toyota Prius on ToyoLand.com. If you’re in the market for a hybrid Toyota in Bristol, several car dealerships in the area happen to have some.
The Tri Cities Toyota Prius: From Underpowered Vehicle to Ou