Toyota is aiming to win back a leading green carmaker image gained initially through its Prius sub-brand, whose popularity has waned in recent years as Tesla has taken the mantle.

As outlined in an interview with Forbes, Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America observed that the Prius was once recognized for bringing hybrid electric vehicles to the world and for making green cars a viable option for car shoppers.

Since 1997 the automaker has sold 8.5 million hybrid vehicles, including 5.4 million Prii – far more than any other automaker and representing a lot of fuel saved.

But the automaker which killed off a small electric city car in 2012 declaring battery electric technology not ready for prime time has challenges now.

As the Tesla Model S has taken off in sales, winning awards, and grabbing media attention, Toyota has been turning its attention from hybrids to hydrogen. Toyota is putting all its bets on its Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car and is selling its claimed advantages over electric vehicles.

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