Toyota, the UAE and the eco-drive to zero emissions
Displaying a variety of green technologies through a sample fleet of over nine electrified vehicles including models from Toyota, Lexus, Hino trucks and Toyota Material Handling, Al-Futtaim Automotive is front and centre at this year’s International Conference on Future Mobility, being the Headline Sponsor for what has grown to become one of the region’s biggest sustainability forums.
Featuring a hydrogen station replica to support the hydrogen-based Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle on display, in addition to Toyota Camry Hybrid Electric, Lexus ES, RX and LS Hybrid Electric, as well as Hino 300 Hybrid Electric, and Linde E20 PH Electric Forklift from Toyota Material handling, the Al-Futtaim Automotive platform offers visitors the chance to experience the company’s long-standing heritage in green mobility and its efforts towards a more sustainable society in line with the UAE Vision 2021.
On the future of green mobility, Toyota, represented by Mr. Yugo Miyamoto Chief Representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office Toyota Motor Corporation, shared its vision towards the popularization of electrified vehicles, and emphasized that the type of electrified powertrain in the future will not be determined by environmental regulations nor by car manufacturers only, but customer and market demand.
Toyota’s electrified vehicle strategy centers on a significant acceleration in the development and launch plans of various electrified powertrains such as hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), with the aim of selling more than 5 million electrified vehicles, including more than 1 million zero-emission vehicles (BEVs, FCEVs) by 2030.
First, Toyota will rollout battery electric vehicles in full scale from 2020 through 10 different models, then from 2025, every model in the Toyota and Lexus line-up around the world will have an electrified powertrain option. As a result, the number of models developed without an electrified version will be zero.
In order to achieve such milestones, Toyota has adopted a holistic approach covering Products, Technology, and Social Infrastructure.
On the products front, Toyota will expand its lineup of battery electric vehicles to incorporate not only small vehicles but also medium and large vehicles as well as buses and trucks.
As for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles, in addition to the Mirai introduced in 2014, Toyota Motor Corporation will expand its FCEV lineup by introducing SUVs, as well as buses and trucks and will also roll out the FCEV technology to other industries, in contribution to a low-emission hydrogen-based society.
As for the currently available and very popular Hybrid Electric powertrain, Toyota will be working on improving its mileage, cost and driving performance while also expanding the applications to models such as sports cars, trucks and high-end luxury models.
Addressing the attending industry experts, Miyamoto said: “Toyota has sold 12 million electrified vehicles over twenty years since we launched the Toyota Prius in 1997. This means that we have accumulated extensive knowledge for electrified vehicles and developed its underlying technologies for the motor, battery, inverter, power control units and regenerative brakes. These technologies can be fully utilized for all types of electrified vehicles including PHEVs, BEVs, and FCEVs. However, even with our experience over the past 20 years, the target of annual sale of 5 million electrified vehicles by 2025 is a serious challenge to achieve and in order to attain it, we must triple our production volume within half the time we spent till date. Toward 2030, Toyota will invest a total of 1.5 trillion yen or approximately 14 billion dollars to overcome such challenges.”
He also explained that the target of 1 million zero-emission vehicles is also a huge task as the battery capacity required for BEVs is approximately 50 times larger than that of HEVs.
“Batteries are a core technology of electrified vehicles and generally present limitations relating to energy density, weight, packaging, and cost. We have been actively developing next-generation solid-state batteries and we aim to commercialize the technology by the early 2020s. This all-new battery is smaller and safer with much-improved performance than the current existing batteries with the potential of drastically improving driving distance. We are also working on innovative batteries such as metal-air batteries, as we believe such breakthrough in battery development is necessary for the full-scale spread of electric vehicles,” Miyamoto concluded.
On its approach for Social Infrastructure, and in order to improve the customer convenience, Toyota is working on expanding the network of charging stations as well as developing innovative technologies such as wireless charging systems and the creation of a system to help streamline battery reuse and recycling, as well as the promotion of hydrogen refueling stations through active cooperation and collaboration with government authorities and partner companies.
In the UAE, Al-Futtaim Toyota pioneered the Hybrid Electric Vehicle usage in 2008 and has so far saved the environment over 7000 tons of CO2 through its taxi fleets of Camry Hybrid. Also, since 2016, the company has been working closely with the UAE government in an effort to raise awareness about zero-emissions technologies such as Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles, through the deployment of Toyota Mirai, as part of a long-term pilot.
Al-Futtaim Toyota believes that Mirai or any other FCEV in the future, once adopted on a large national scale, can actively help the UAE in its march towards a serious climate action thanks to the many practical benefits it presents, such as zero pollutants, zero behavioral change, long mileage and minimal hydrogen filling time of 3 to 5 minutes.