With the increasing demand for cars to become more environmentally friendly there's a lot more talk about Hybrid, and we would like to tell you more about Toyota Hybrids and perhaps bust some myths.

Toyota are the world leaders in Hybrid technology having launched the first mass produced Hybrid car - the Prius - way back in 1997, and now there have been over 10 million Toyota Hybrids sold worldwide.

This commitment to Hybrid technology means they have the largest range of models available, with Hybrid versions of Yaris, Auris, C-HR, Prius Family and RAV4 all available in the UK. With this wide choice, Toyota sold around 56,000 vehicles in the UK last year which is 4 times greater than every other manufacturer combined!

How is a hybrid powered ?

Hybrid cars have a mix of power coming from a traditional engine along with an electric motor powered by batteries. When pulling off they normally start in pure electric mode, making them especially efficient in city driving. Above 15mph the engine is always used but when you need to accelerate hard the engine and electric motor can combine to increase power.

Do you need to plug in Hybrids to charge their batteries?

No! This is a common misconception but Toyota Hybrids never need plugged in (with the exception of the Prius Plug-In) - they use a clever system called 'regenerative braking' which uses the energy created when you slow down or brake to power a generator and re-charge the batteries.

Do you need to drive differently?

No! Hybrids are exactly the same to drive. To get the greatest efficiency Toyota use CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) combined with a petrol engine in their Hybrids. CVT is an automatic gearbox but is different from traditional manual or automatics as it doesn't have different gears which cause the car to pause or lurch as it changes. This results in an amazingly smooth drive.

Do the batteries wear out and end up being expensive to replace?

No! Currently, the Hybrid batteries in all models use either the latest nickel-metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery technology or, in the case of the Prius Plug-in, new lithium-ion (Li-ion) tech.

Regardless of which technology is used, the battery pack will last for many years and miles – many first-generation Prius remain on the road today after 20 years of driving. And if you buy a new Toyota Hybrid, it comes with up to 11 years’ unlimited mileage warranty on the Hybrid battery pack thanks to Toyota’s Hybrid Health Check scheme. So you can enjoy complete peace of mind with no worries.

Toyota is already conducting research and development of its next-generation batteries, which will take another step forward in terms of size, weight and storage capacity.

Does producing raw materials for the Hybrid batteries causes lots of pollution and harm to the environment?

This claim was published in print and online by the Mail on Sunday. It said the industrial site in Sudbury, Canada, that produces nickel used in all kinds of industrial applications, including Toyota battery packs, had polluted the landscape to such an extent that it resembled the arid surface of the moon.

This was untrue, and following a reader’s complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, the article was removed from the Daily Mail website. The retraction can still be viewed here. The industrial site mentioned in the original article reduced its emissions by more than 90 per cent since 1970, with a further $1 billion emissions reduction initiative having taken place to reduce it further.

Does a Toyota Hybrid have a greater impact on the environment because of its more involved production process?

According to the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 85% of a vehicle’s carbon emissions come from the fuel used when it is driven. Therefore a small increase in carbon emissions from the manufacture of Prius is more than offset by fuel savings throughout its life on the road. Additionally, at the end of its life, over 85% of Prius components can be recycled, and more than 95% of the car’s materials are recoverable.

As a company, Toyota is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its manufacturing processes and has drastically reduced them at many of its manufacturing sites, including here in the UK and at production facilities in Japan. Toyota continually lowers its emissions levels so that all its cars, including Hybrids, will have less impact on the environment.

Is a Hybrid any better than the latest diesel cars?

Toyota Hybrids and the latest diesel cars offer consumers excellent fuel economy, but the disadvantage of a diesel compared with a petrol-electric Hybrid is its emissions. Nitrous-oxide (NOx) and particulate emissions from diesel cars contribute to poor air quality, a fact recently highlighted by proposals by some cities to introduce an additional charge for diesel cars and calls for higher rates of tax on diesel fuel.

The effects of NOx and particulate emissions have significant health implications – the Department for Transport reports that they can have “adverse effects on health, particularly among people with existing respiratory illness” and associates them with “increased hospital admissions” due to respiratory and cardiovascular problems. NOx emissions also contribute to smog formation and ground level ozone. In contrast, the lower emissions of a Hybrid help to improve air quality and reduce these harmful effects on health, particularly when running in zero-emissions ECO mode.

The best way though to really discover what a Toyota Hybrid is like is to test drive one - we are sure you'll be pleasantly surprised.

We have Hybrid Yaris, Auris, C-HR, Prius and RAV4 available so please contact us to arrange a test-drive.