Why Keep Making Hybrids? Mission of the All-New Prius


Following the world premiere of the fifth-generation Prius, Toyota Times shares the full presentation by Simon Humphries, Senior General Manager of Design.

Why we need hybrids today

And here in 2022, times have changed; not a day goes by without talk of the road to carbon neutrality. But in addition to hybrids, BEVs are also achieving major technological breakthroughs and solidifying their position as the standard for the future.

As Akio san stated at the BEV event a year ago, “an EV for everyone,” Toyota has embraced BEV as a critical part of our product portfolio.

We have started to introduce a full lineup of exciting electric vehicles that meet the diverse needs of our global customers, together with hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell technologies.

But as Akio says, “BEVs are an important solution, but they are not always the best option for everyone. In a diversified world, we need a variety of options.”

The reason for the Prius’ existence

However, despite these explanations, we’re still faced with people asking “how long are you going to keep making hybrids for...?”

In the face of this, Akio was adamant that “The Prius is a model that must be kept.”

Why? Simply because the Prius is an eco-car within everyone’s reach.

In order to achieve carbon neutrality, everyone in the world must participate. We need ecological solutions within reach of many.

And it needs to start today, not tomorrow.

Toyota believes that eco-cars can only contribute to the environment if they are popularized. And from that point of view, the Prius is a car for the majority.

It is a car to be driven by all people, not just a few. That is its greatest strength, the reason for its existence, and the reason the Prius brand should not be lost.

Although everyone in the development phase agreed to these goals, the methods to achieving them were hotly debated.

Akio’s proposals

Should the next Prius focus on becoming a “Commodity” or something to “Love?” Akio san proposed that the next Prius should evolve toward becoming a true commodity.

Why don’t we make the next Prius a taxi ? By increasing the number of Prius’ in heavy use, long mileage situations, then the contribution to the environment increases together with volume.

He also proposed to sell the Prius as an OEM vehicle through other manufacturers, taking the environmental technology of the Prius, which has been cultivated over many years, and not limiting it to just the Toyota group. This would contribute to a carbon-neutral society by spreading the Prius’ environmental technology beyond the boundary of a single manufacturer.

But on our side, we also believed there was another way. We wanted to make a car that people would choose not only for its rational benefits, but also emotional experience.