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Toyota is embracing all types of “green” technology in an effort to create a more sustainable motoring environment in the future.
“We are not putting all our eggs in the hybrid basket,” said Alistair Davis, Toyota New Zealand’s Managing Director. “Hybrids are only one step along the way. They are the first most practical step at the moment.”
Toyota worldwide has a company policy to reduce its new vehicle CO2 emissions by 90 percent from 2010 levels by 2050, using a combination of hybrid, plug in hybrid, fuel cell and electric vehicles.
“The world’s CO2 levels are at an all time high, something the Paris Climate Change Conference last year aims to change,” said Mr Davis.
New Zealand has a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below its 2005 levels of 84 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.
“We have to play a part in that,” said Mr Davis, who is also the chairman of the Sustainable Business Council.
The Prius was a good example of what ongoing research and development of a technology could do, said Mr Davis. The first generation Prius had average CO2 emissions of 115 g/km, while the latest model has come down to 80 g/km, a 30 percent reduction.
At the same time the average emissions for Toyota’s overall fleet in New Zealand is 180g/km.
Overall vehicle CO2 emissions in New Zealand have been reduced by 17 percent since 2006.
However, 45 percent of vehicles on New Zealand roads operate with less fuel efficiency as they are over 16 years old.
“We and the whole industry have some way to go,” admitted Mr Davis. “But Toyota is going in the right direction.”
Toyota New Zealand’s parent company in Japan, the Toyota Motor Corporation, has been researching and developing alternative energy options for vehicles since the 1980s, selling more than a 1.2 million hybrid vehicles a year worldwide since 2012 and reaching more than nine million sales in April this year.
Toyota globally expects to ramp up hybrid sales to 1.5 million a year and have sold 15 million worldwide by 2020.
Plug in hybrids and electric vehicles have been given priority for introduction in markets where emission control regulations are much more stringent than those in New Zealand.
Its first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Mirai, is now available in Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark and Belgium and it has also gone on sale in California earlier this year. The Netherlands, Sweden and Norway with be introducing Mirai before the end of the year.
Toyota expects its fuel cell vehicle sales worldwide will total 30,000 a year by 2020 as the supply network is expanded. Until 2020 it has made available free of charge 5,600 patents relating to the Mirai in the hope other manufacturers will accelerate their development and introduction of fuel cell vehicles.
Toyota is the sustainable vehicle supplier to the International Olympic Committee up to the end of 2024, including all summer and winter Games from the start of 2017.
This support covers vehicles (including passenger cars, urban mobility vehicles and commercial vehicles), mobility services (including vehicle and road safety and transportation support systems and services) and certain transportation and mobility support products.
Toyota is also involved in autonomous vehicle innovation and development with both conventional looking cars and ultra-compact electric vehicles such as the Toyota i-Road, a new concept in urban mobility which combines with an intelligent transport system currently on trial in a car-sharing experiment in Japan and France.
With the expansion of ride-sharing, particularly in foreign markets, Toyota Financial Services Corporation announced last month that they will enter an agreement with Uber to explore ride-sharing opportunities and will make a strategic investment in the technology platform, a collaboration that is currently not extending to the New Zealand market.
Toyota has also invested US$1 billion for a research institute that will develop artificial intelligence and robotics for enhancing human mobility.