Toyota sold record 1.52 million hybrids in 2017

That's three years ahead of its goal.

Toyota has been selling electrified cars for more than two decades now, launching the Prius hybrid in Japan in 1997. Back in the fall of 2015, the automaker announced a number of goals as part of its "Environmental Challenge 2050." One of those was to sell 1.5 million hybrids (including its Lexus brand) annually by 2020. Toyota has announced that is has already achieved that goal, selling 1.52 electrified vehicles in 2017.

That's an 8 percent increase of Toyota's 2016 hybrid sales, and means the company has sold more than 11.47 million electrified vehicles since it began. Toyota says that represents a reduction of more than 90 million tons of CO2. Last year's achievement "is a testament from our customers to the quality, durability and reliability of our electrified powertrains," says Toyota Executive VP Shigeki Terashi, "and, thanks to them, has led us to establish a solid and sustainable foundation for mass producing a more diverse portfolio of electrified vehicles across our range moving forward."

Other goals of Toyota's Environmental Challenge 2050 are 30,000 annual fuel cell vehicle sales by 2020, mass production of battery electric vehicles in 2020 and annual electrified vehicle sales of 5.5 million by 2030. These are all part of Toyota's larger goal of reducing new vehicle CO2 emissions by 90 percent by 2050 (compared to 2010).

Prior to 2016, Toyota hybrid sales peaked in 2013, at 1.28 million before slumping slightly in 2014 and 2015. Toyota saw an uptick and a new record in 2016, at 1.4 million, before setting yet another record in 2017, at 1.52 million.

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