More than 75 percent of UK hybrid sales claimed by Toyota and Lexus models.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- May 3, 2012
2012 Toyota Yaris Hybrid - < $23,759 USD including Taxes in Europe and a staggering 67.2 mpgUS combined on the NEDC. 50 mpgUS here of course.
Toyota has downsized its Hybrid Synergy Drive for the Yaris hybrid by combining a new 1.5L I4 with VVTi engine with a more compact electric motor, transaxle, inverter and battery pack. The result is a system that is 20 percent lighter than that used in Prius.
And boy do I wish our c would have received the slightly more upscale European Yaris interior instead
A Little History
Remember back to late 2000 when the 2001 Prius hybrid arrived? It was built off the ungainly looking Echo platform while sporting an Atkinsonized 1.5L mated to Toyota’s first iteration of HSD? From some pundits perspective, that first generation Prius was nothing more than a science project and doomed to failure. It was dismissed by the domestics here in the US and certainly most European manufacturers saw it as a curiosity and in turn bet the farm on their small but mighty diesel to carry the day.
Just over a decade later, oh how the world has changed.
Latest Sales Figures
The latest sales figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show a steady rise in annual UK hybrid sales over the past five years, with Toyota and Lexus models accounting for more than 75 percent of the take.
From 2007 through the end of the first quarter of this year, almost 100,000 hybrid vehicles have been purchased in and of that number, 77,000 were Toyota or Lexus hybrids. Regarding hybrid market share in the Uk, while not anywhere near the 50 plus percent of the mighty super diesel, hybrid sales are increasing steadily and have almost doubled, from 0.7 per cent to 1.3 per cent in 2012 alone.
Toyota’s Near Term Direction
The Lexus GS450h is ready to take on Europe’s elite while providing better fuel economy and performance.
With the introduction of another four Toyota and Lexus hybrids this year, expect even more of an increase as drivers to make the switch.
The Yaris Hybrid (the c here) will arrive this summer and with it, Toyota has proven they can downsize the hybrid drivetrain for cost while still allowing full functionality of the cargo volume while maintaining a its superb fuel efficiency.
For the family, Europe will receive the Prius+ (our v) and if you have not read the pages of CleanMPG as of late, you would have missed my enthusiastic reception to what I deem to be the best all-around hybrid on the road today. The Prius + features seven-seats and while many may ask why is it not here, the reason is 7 seats in the v is simply too small for our tastes.
The + uses a compact and powerful Li-Ion battery vs. the NiMH here while providing passenger and cargo volume not available in anything even close to its size and fuel efficiency. The new + is also expected to be certified at < 100 g/km CO2 allowing no road tax (VED) or the particularly onerous London congestion charge.
The introduction of Prius PHEV, Toyota’s first commercial hybrid with a battery that can be recharged from an external power source is also set to make waves across Europe. Designed to meet the needs of both urban and long distance drivers is a snap with its extended electric-only EV range. With Europe’s standard 220V wall outlets, a full charge form empty takes less than 90 minutes.
Moving upscale, the all-new GS 450h with its aggressively penned exterior will take performance and fuel efficiency to a whole new low level.
Jon Williams, Toyota President and Managing Director:
“Toyota’s leadership in hybrid technology is not just about the models we have launched and the new vehicles we are bringing to market this year. It also serves as a proven, flexible technology platform for creating different power trains – all-electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles – with which we will be able to develop and deliver sustainable transport with minimum environmental impact.”
A mouthful for sure and it hits the target both today and what will be arriving in the not too distant future. In other words, while Toyota eventually moves its entire lineup towards the hybrid drivetrain, expect even more advances to come. We will be right here reporting on it as soon as we hear and hopefully all of us will benefit for those current and future offerings even if we do not drive one for ourselves.