It has taken 23 years but Toyota’s petrol-electric hybrid tech has clocked up more than 15 million sales globally. 
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Japanese car giant Toyota has passed another major milestone, producing its 15 millionth hybrid car since the first Prius hit the road in 1997.

The company estimates the 15 million hybrid cars over 23 years have saved more than 120 million tonnes of CO2 compared with equivalent petrol vehicles which use twice to three times as much fuel.

In Australia, Toyota has sold more than 134,000 petrol-electric hybrid cars, after passing the 100,000 mark 11 months ago.

Hybrid vehicles now account for almost a quarter (23.5 per cent, to be exact) of all Toyotas sold globally and the company plans to ramp up production of more models.

Toyota has previously stated it plans to have a hybrid version of every model in its range by the end of 2025.

In Australia, sales of Toyota hybrid vehicles have tripled over the past two years, from fewer than 8500 cars in 2017 to more than 27,800 last year.

The major milestone comes as Toyota RAV4 Hybrid customers are still waiting up to 10 months for certain models because the company can’t manufacture enough to meet the sharp increase in demand.

Toyota is trying to overhaul the allocation process for Toyota RAV4 Hybrid models in Australia, however most people in the queue for a car are waiting between three and six months.

Toyota Australia says it expects “to receive additional supplies” of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid during the second half of 2020, in an attempt to cut waiting times.

The Toyota RAV4 is now Toyota Australia’s top-selling hybrid vehicle so far this year, ahead of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid which was the top-selling petrol-electric car last year.

However, the Toyota Camry Hybrid remains the company’s best selling petrol-electric car to date, with a cumulative total of 63,700 sales so far – a mix of the previous generation locally-made model and today’s imported example.

“In the first three months of this year, Toyota Australia's hybrid (sales) reached 11,756 cars or 23.5 percent of the brand’s local sales, both of which are records,” the company said in a media statement issued today.

Although Toyota’s hybrid system – which does not need to be plugged in, it charges itself when the car is braking or coasting – started in the experimental Prius model in 1997, the technology has since branched out to more models in the range, from the Corolla hatch and sedan, to the Camry sedan, the C-HR compact SUV, the new RAV4 mid-size SUV and next generation Kluger family SUV.

Toyota Australia will soon add hybrid versions of the next generation Yaris hatch and the Yaris Cross city SUV, both of which are due in local showrooms by the end of this year.

There are also reports out of the US and Japan that claim the next generation Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series, due some time in the next two years, will also eventually be available with hybrid power.