The unstoppable rise of hybrid cars

It’s enough to make the most diehard petrolhead choke on his cornflakes – news is in that hybrid car sales are soaring.

Toyota's hybrid cars increase market share

Sadly, they are no longer a fad, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chart a steady rise in annual UK sales over the past five years.

Toyota and Lexus models account for more than 75 per cent of all hybrid cars taking to the road.

From 2007 up to the end of the first quarter of this year, almost 100,000 hybrid cars have been sold in the UK, helping achieve a healthy saving in carbon emissions. Of those, 77,000 were Toyota or Lexus cars – a proportion of more than three in every four hybrids registered.

In terms of hybrid’s market share, the figures have almost doubled, from 0.7 per cent to 1.3 per cent so far in 2012.

This year should see further impetus for even more drivers to make the switch to hybrid cars, with four new hybrids being introduced by Toyota and Lexus.

This summer will see the launch of the Yaris Hybrid and the debut of Prius+, the first seven-seat full hybrid in Europe.

The development of Prius – the ‘original’ Toyota hybrid – into a self-contained family of models will be boosted further when the Prius Plug-in, the firm’s first commercial hybrid with a battery that can be recharged from an external power source comes out.

The driving range of hybrid cars is a major issue for potential buyers but the new models will switch to an engine once their battery charge is depleted and most of them will be able to be plugged into a power supply (still fairly scarce) to be recharged in around 90 minutes.

Toyota is determined to be a leader in the hybrid cars field and is looking at bringing out a new GS executive sports saloon for those who want a bigger hybrid vehicle.

As hybrid cars improve their travelling distance, their slice of the new car market will surely increase – as will the demand for them using leasing as a cost-effective method of ownership.

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