Toyota Australia senior director sales and marketing, David Buttner, said the growing popularity of fuel-saving and emissions-reducing vehicles was encouraging Toyota to forge ahead with its plans to advance its technology.
“Toyota is testing a range of future technologies such as lithium-ion batteries, plug-in hybrid systems and battery electric vehicles, but these are not yet ready for the market,” Mr Buttner said. Currently 500 lithium-ion-powered Prius Plug-In hybrids are being trialled throughout Europe, Japan and the US, with plans for full-scale retail sales to begin late next year.
After selling more than 500,000 hybrids for the first time in 2009, Toyota is now aiming to sell one million cars per year as soon as possible. Mr Buttner confirmed that it is still a long-term goal of the company to offer a hybrid version of every model sometime before 2030.
But despite Toyota’s developmental work on next-generation plug-in systems and pure electric vehicles, Mr Buttner said hybrids could possibly remain one of the most practical sustainable mobility solutions for the mainstream market in the coming years.
"Even in the future, Toyota's hybrid cars will continue to enable owners to drive long distances without requiring expensive charging or battery-swap infrastructure.”
Prius sales have accounted for 70 percent of all Toyota hybrid sales, while the Hybrid Camry has climbed into second place with global sales of almost 200,000.
Australians have purchased more than 17,000 Toyota hybrids since the launch of the NHW11 Prius after the 2001 Sydney Motor Show, with locally-manufactured Camry sales making up more than 2000 of those.