Toyota managed to overcome technical and engineering challenges to create the Prius, which is the first-ever fuel-efficient, marketable, and mass-produced hybrid automobile. If you’re interested in buying a Prius and are curious about its history, we’ve got you covered!
The Beginning of the Hybrid Revolution
In the year of 1993, the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles or PNGV was established. Three of the main American automakers, General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford were involved in the group, along with various federal agencies. The combined research efforts of the PNGV were aimed at trying to introduce 80 MG fuel-efficient automobiles to the market in less than a decade by 2003.
The PNGV didn’t invite Toyota since it was a Japanese company, and PNGV was funded by the US government. Toyota was angry and so they decided to start work on the Prius to get back at PNGV.
The First Generation – Prius is Born
The first concept of the Prius was revealed in 1995 by Toyota. The word Prius is Latin, which translates to “to go before.” The first-generation Prius had a unique Energy Management System, which is a combination of an electric motor and a gasoline engine. The Prius was commercially sold in the domestic market exclusively to Japanese customers. By the year 2000, Toyota had managed to sell more than 40,000 units.
That prompted Toyota to increase production, which is when the Prius joined the international market. At that time Toyota was producing around 3,000 Priuses a month, and by spring of 2000, it was announced that the Prius would be introduced into the US market. The first-generation Prius was available to the US consumers at the base price of $20,000 and was available in three packages: The Standard, the Base, and the Touring. The top speed of the Prius was 99 mph and it managed to reach 0 to 60 mph in 13.4 seconds.
The Second Generation – Prius Making its Mark
The New York International Show of 2004 was when the second generation of the Toyota Prius was released, and it featured great upgrades to the original Prius while being sold at the same base price. The second-generation Prius was not only more powerful but faster.
The Third Generation – Prius Reborn
The third-generation Prius was marketed as the most advanced car in the mainstream market at the time of its launch because it boasted higher performance and reduced emissions. Toyota managed to fit in a 1.8L Atkinson cycle gas engine and revamped the hybrid synergy system so that it was lighter and smaller. They also added new HSD parts and a high tensile metal that was used to provide greater powertrain efficiency and reduce the weight of the Prius.