Toyota Hybrid Technology | 20 Years in the Making

May 18th, 2022 by

Toyota has always been an industry leader when it comes to making its vehicles eco-friendly and reliable.  Learn how a Toyota hybrid works, helps the environment, and even save you money!  What does it mean to be a Hybrid?  Learn the technology behind the Toyota Hybrid line-up and how Toyota continues to improve its engineering year after year. 

20 year history of the Toyota Hybrid

Over 20 years of manufacturing Hybrid vehicles

It has been over 20 years since Toyota launched the world’s first mass-produced Hybrid, the Prius.  Toyota launched the Prius in Japan in 1977.  It was then introduced into the United States and other worldwide markets in 2000.  The name Prius comes from the Latin term “to go before”.  This is truly fitting when you consider how engineers at Toyota have revolutionized the way we build vehicles today by keeping our environment in mind.  The first-generation Prius was equipped with a 1.5 liter Atkinson cycle 4 cylinder gasoline engine, a permanent magnet AC electric motor, and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack.  The power generated from the gas engine and Regenerative Braking work together to optimize the best fuel economy possible.  With this combined technology the first-generation Prius had an MPG of 52 city, 45 highway, and 48 combined.  

Electric Motor

A Hybrid is equipped with two engines, a gas motor and an electric motor.  The electric motor receives power from the battery pack while also transferring energy back into the battery pack. This means that when the electric motor is running, it can continually recharge the batteries inside the Hybrid vehicle.  It can also recharge energy generated by the motor.  By using power from both engines simultaneously the driver receives instant torque while saving on fuel consumption and lowering vehicle emissions.    

Regenerative Braking

When you press on the brakes of any vehicle the friction created reduces the kinetic energy to slow the vehicle down.  However on a Hybrid, the traction motor can recover some of that kinetic energy.  That energy is then stored in the battery pack to power the electric motor.  By storing power with Regenerative Braking there is no need to charge or plug in any Hybrid vehicle.  

Hybrid Battery

Toyota still uses battery packs in their Hybrid vehicles today, though the technology has changed slightly.  The first Hybrids created by Toyota introduced a nickel-metal hydride battery but now use a lithium-ion battery.  Though the concept is similar Toyota is always looking for ways to improve their engineering.  Toyota is currently working on a solid-state battery they hope to depute on their Hybrids by 2025.  There are some misconceptions on how often a Hybrid battery will last.  But no need to be concerned because you get a 10 year or 150,000-mile warranty on the Hybrid battery on any new vehicle.   

The lifespan of the Toyota Hybrid battery should never be a worry.   In fact, the Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone national park partnered with Toyota to re-purpose used Camry Hybrid batteries.  The Camry batteries used were from cars that had other mechanical issues and no longer drivable.  By using solar panels and 208 Hybrid Camry batteries the ranger station now functions with no commercial power!  This is just one example of how Toyota proves to be reliable and environmentally conscious.

Check out this video to see how all 3 component’s work together to create the Hybrid system.

Toyota Hybrid Line-up

The Toyota Hybrid may have started with the Prius but have now became an available option on most models. The Corolla, Camry, Highlander, Rav4, Sienna, Tundra, Sequoia and Venza, all come in a Hybrid option.  Fingers crossed the Tacoma and 4runner will be soon to come.  The hope is to have a Hybrid in all the available models in the next few years.  To see a full list of available Hybrid inventory visit our website at Kalispell Toyota

Toyota Hybrid Lineup