Toyota Prius to celebrate 15th birthday

One of the world's most popular green cars, the Toyota Prius, will celebrate its 15th birthday this month, Toyota has announced.

The Toyota Prius first hit the Japanese market in 1997, before being released to a wider global market in 2000. However it was not until 2001 that the Prius made its way to Australia.

Since then, nearly three million units of the fuel efficient vehicle have been sold around the world, with the latest iteration having accounted for around a third of those.

Upon its initial release, the car was marketed with the tagline "Just in time for the 21st century", and has since developed a reputation as being one of the more forward-thinking cars ever released.

According to a statement released by Toyota on December 12, the Prius "raised a lot of eyebrows and some sceptical comments" when it was first released.

However the marque claims that Toyota engineers and developers never gave up on the concept for hybrid fuel efficient cars.

"They believed their vision would turn out to be correct, and today the third-generation Prius has become a global best-selling model," writes the marque.

"Global sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrids are approaching five million sales with more than one million sold this year alone."

Fleet managers in Australia looking to curb fuel consumption and reduce expenses in their vehicle fleet may want to consider investing in hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius.

Because hybrid cars utilise both a traditional fossil fuel engine as well as an electric engine, they are able to run on less petrol than regular single engine vehicles.

According to Toyota, hybrid cars are also notable for producing low CO2 emissions, and virtually zero NOx (mono-nitrogen oxides) and particulate matter.