By Hans Greimel, Crain News Service
TOKYO (Oct. 14, 2015) — Toyota Motor Corp. aims to sell 30,000 fuel cell vehicles and 7 million additional hybrids by 2020 as part of a sweeping new environmental plan to slash carbon dioxide emissions.
The car maker's top brass outlined the objectives Oct. 14 as the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, aiming to all but eliminate the carbon footprint of its fleet and factories.
Among the goals, Toyota targets a 90 percent cut in average carbon dioxide emissions from new vehicles by 2050, compared with 2010 levels. And more ambitiously, it aims to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions at factories in that timeframe.
The company is already on pace. When Toyota's new assembly plant in Mexico opens in 2019, it will achieve a 40-percent reduction in per vehicle emissions from the company's 2001 baseline. And its plants in Brazil already generate all electricity from locally produced wind, biomass and hydroelectric power.
The company's vision reduces the traditional internal combustion engine to just the tiniest sliver of Toyota's total deployment by 2050.
The goals signal a ramped-up push by Toyota to establish itself as a global clean car leader. And they dovetail with last year's release of Toyota's Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and next month's launch of the next-generation Prius flagship hybrid.
Toyota's focus on hydrogen and hybrid technologies draws a clear battle line against Volkswagen A.G. The German rival staked much of its own green car strategy on clean diesels only to suffer a backlash after admitting it rigged emissions tests.
“Let us resolve at least one of the problems of the 21st century,” Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, the chief engineer of the original Prius, said at an environmental forum.
“We wanted to mobilize all of Toyota's strengths.”
The push calls for ramping up electrified drivetrains, winding down reliance on fossil fuels and turning to renewable energy sources, especially in the form of hydrogen.
Indeed, Toyota said it now aims to sell 30,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2020. That compares with Toyota's production plan of just 2,000 such vehicles in 2016. To help, Toyota will start selling hydrogen fuel cell buses in early 2017.
In hybrids, Toyota wants to achieve annual sales of 1.5 million vehicles and reach cumulative sales of 15 million hybrids by 2020. Toyota sold its first hybrid vehicle back in 1997.
Toyota is now selling around 1.27 million hybrids annually. It notched cumulative sales of 8.05 million in the summer 2015.
“Carbon dioxide emissions while driving will become close to zero,” Senior Managing Officer Kiyotaka Ise said.
“There will be a shift in the energy used by vehicles.”
Development of high-capacity solid-state batteries will improve the performance of electrified drivetrains, while more energy-efficient semiconductors deliver further fuel savings, Toyota said. At the same time, further cost reductions will make once-pricey hybrid technology mainstream and easily affordable.
Meanwhile, Toyota aims to clean up factories by slashing carbon dioxide emissions to zero “at all plants” by 2050.
That rollback will come in stages.
Toyota will cut emissions per vehicle from new plants and new production lines to half of 2001 levels by 2020 and then to a third by 2030. It will use compact and more efficient manufacturing processes to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Remaining needs will come from renewable resources and hydrogen to “completely eliminate” carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
As part of the green action plan, Toyota also aims to vastly reduce water usage and launch aggressive recycling programs.
This report appeared on the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.