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The Birth of a Totally New Vehicle - Hybrid Awareness


The Birth of a Totally New Vehicle

Launched in 1997, the Prius was the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. It was the birth of a visionary new vehicle featuring a completely new kind of drive system.


The Prius is Born: Leading the World in Mass-Produced Hybrid

Work on developing the 1st-generation Prius required overcoming a plethora of challenges. For example, highly durable IGBT* semiconductors were required to control the electric motor, battery, and power supply of an automobile, but there were none available at the time. So, developers had to create a new one from scratch. Hoping that more and more people had access to hybrid vehicles, we overcame an array of problems, and the Prius the world’s first mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle, was successfully launched in Japan in 1997.

* Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT) are a type of semiconductor element used to control electric current and voltage. They are characterized by their ability to withstand high currents and voltages with low electrical loss.