It is 20 years since Toyota launched the Prius, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle. Based on the Latin phrase meaning ‘to go before’, the Prius truly proved to be the forerunner to today’s surge of electric vehicles.

We take a brief look at its evolution:

1993 Prius concept car exhibited at the 31st Tokyo Motor Show
Seeking to develop a ‘vehicle for the 21st century’, Toyota launched the G21 Project at the 1993 Tokyo Motor Show, as a means of promoting technological development. Efforts began, searching for ways to achieve a ground-breaking improvement in fuel efficiency that would light the way in the 21st century.

1997-2003 First-generation Prius Launched in October 1997.
With a body compact enough to be registered with a 5-series number plate, the First-generation Prius was a stockier sedan than the current generation. The First-generation Prius had a fuel efficiency rating of 28.0 km/L and came with the tagline: “Just in time for the 21st century”.

2003-2009 Second-generation Prius
Completely redesigned, the new model was equipped with the Toyota Hybrid System II – an evolution of the previous THS – which improved its 10-15 test cycle fuel efficiency rating to 35.5 km/L. The highest point of the vehicle was now above the driver’s head and sloped gently downwards in both directions in a ‘triangle silhouette’.

2009-2015 Third-generation Prius
The Third-generation Prius featured a slightly larger body than previous models and the THS engine was increased in size from 1.5 litres to 1.8 litres. The Third-generation Prius achieved what was then the world’s leading 10-15 test cycle fuel efficiency rating of 38.0 km/L.

2015- Fourth-generation Prius
The Fourth-generation Prius, while inheriting the ‘triangle silhouette’ design, now featured a more aggressive appearance with a lower centre of gravity, with an outstanding fuel efficiency rating of 40.8 km/L

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