It all began with the first-generation Prius in 1997, and since then, brands under the Toyota group has sold a total of 15 million hybrid vehicles spanning a period of 23 years.

Toyota made the decision to develop a hybrid electric vehicle some 25 years ago, referring to the Prius as a ‘car for the 21st century’. The team was led by chief engineer Takeshi Uchiyamada, who rose through the ranks to assume the current position of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Toyota Motor Corporation.

Takeshi Uchiyamada was the chief engineer of the first Prius, now he’s the Chairman.

Uchiyamada’s brief was to engineer a car that would emit low greenhouse emissions and tailpipe pollutants in order to achieve Toyota’s vision to become a leader in vehicle emissions in the world. The breakthrough product was the Prius – the world’s first mass produced hybrid car, with many models following thereafter.

Despite being first automaker to make cutting-edge hybrid technology available to the average consumer, Toyota hybrid vehicles have also led the field in reliability and dependability, and contributed to a savings of more than 120 million tonnes of CO2 compared to equivalent petrol-powered vehicles. Well, here’s to the next 15 million then.