Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced that as of the end of June, worldwide cumulative sales of its Prius gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle passed the 3-million mark.
TMC launched the Prius in 1997, making the Prius the world’s first mass-produced hybrid passenger car.
The second generation followed in 2003, and the third generation in 2009.
From the first to third generation, TMC said it greatly reduced the cost of the hybrid system by two-thirds and increased fuel efficiency. In addition, TMC applied for 1,261 patents relating to the third-generation Prius, achieving progress worthy of the Prius name (derived from a Latin word meaning “to go before”).
Since the development of the first-generation Prius, TMC said it has positioned hybrid technology as a core technology required for the development of various types of environment-friendly vehicles and has placed emphasis on the development and production of core components such as motors, inverters, batteries and electronic control units (ECUs). This all gave rise to substantial investment in Japan.
TMC declared it will continue to conduct R&D and invest in facilities in Japan for the development of hybrid and other cutting-edge technologies and achieve sustainable growth by deploying these Japan-developed technologies across the globe.
In the company’s fiscal year ending March 2014, TMC expects to spend a consolidated 890 billion yen on environmental technology development, as well as on strengthening new platform and major component development.
In the same period, TMC said it also plans to make consolidated capital expenditure investments of 910 billion yen (up seven percent year-over-year), with 440 billion yen invested in Japan (up nine percent year-over-year).
Investments in R&D infrastructure include a new R&D facility (651 hectares) and the Powertrain Development and Production Engineering Building (a 12-story structure with a total floor area of 100,000 m²) in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, that will serve as a next-generation powertrain development base. This building will also include the Aerodynamics Laboratory (capable of producing winds of 250 km/h) located in the Honsha Technical Center.
Future capital investments by consolidated subsidiaries include an investment by Primearth EV Energy Co., Ltd. (PEVE) for expanding battery production capacity at its Omori Plant in Kosai City, Shizuoka Prefecture.