New Toyota Prius unveiled - What does this model mean for green cars?

Of all the green cars released by manufacturers across the world, one has drawn the most attention since its release in the late '90s. 

The Toyota Prius was a hybrid car before your average consumer knew there was an alternative to filling cars with petrol, combining the Japanese marque's world-renowned reliability with the technology needed to save the world. 

For a while, fleet managers with a hankering for hybrid or electric vehicles were limited to the Prius and little else. Since then, though, other options such as the Tesla Model S have made the vehicles exciting again. So, what has Toyota done to bolster its option in the wake of this new competition?

New Prius for green car aficionados

For better or for worse, the Prius is more of an evolution rather than a revolution, meaning it's still a perfect vehicle for fleet managers looking to enhance their sustainability programs. 

Where Tesla has set its sights on the luxury and performance car markets, the new Prius remains true to its roots as a practical compact car. This makes it a worthy option for almost any fleet, from taxi drivers to salespeople. 

Like all new vehicles, the Prius comes with a range of technologies, from satellite navigation to safety systems, ensuring drivers have everything they need when they're out on the road. 

Will this boost the sales of green cars?

As one of the most popular hybrid options, the 2016 Toyota Prius could very well create a spike in interest for environmentally friendly vehicles, especially as car buyers are now much more receptive to these alternatives. 

There are still some challenges for electric and hybrid vehicles to overcome however, even though Toyota has just sold its 8 millionth vehicle in this category. A study from Edmunds.com discovered that some hybrid vehicle owners are struggling to remain loyal to these cars. 

The firm found more than a fifth of people who traded in electric cars opted to replace them with SUVs. However, this isn't necessarily bad news, as its now possible to buy hybrid SUVs - the best of both worlds. 

Edmunds.com Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell said not all buyers were as focussed on environmental objectives. 

"For better or worse, it looks like many hybrid and EV owners are driven more by financial motives rather than a responsibility to the environment," she explained. 

As new hybrid options are released and the technology becomes more affordable, it's likely that drivers will be able to consolidate financial and environmental concerns.