Toyota unveils new Prius, says hybrids vital in carbon reduction

Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday unveiled the latest iteration of its flagship Prius hybrid car with improved acceleration performance, emphasizing its stance that hybrid cars are still a viable option in achieving carbon neutrality amid the rising popularity of electric vehicles.

The latest model, its fifth generation, marks the first full-model change of the car in about seven years. The Japanese carmaker said it has made the vehicle's exterior design sportier while adopting the latest hybrid system to realize high fuel efficiency.

The new Prius will go on sale this winter while its plug-in hybrid model is expected to hit the market next spring, the company said.

The launch of the latest model comes as Toyota has said hybrid cars are a more realistic approach toward achieving carbon neutrality than EVs, given the high cost of (owning) all-electric cars and the current energy mix that relies heavily on fossil fuels.

"Battery electric vehicles are an important solution but not always the best option for everyone," Simon Humphries, senior general manager at Toyota's Vehicle Development Center, said in an online presentation. "In a diversified world, we need a variety of options,"

"Prius is an eco-car within everyone's reach," he said.

Toyota launched the Prius in 1997, sending shockwaves in the industry due to its extremely high fuel efficiency.

© Kyodo News