• "Reducing CO2 emissions through sure and steady steps and widespread application"
FCVs, like Toyotas production Mirai (pictured here on demonstration in Australia), can be driven without emitting CO2 so have high potential as a form of the ultimate eco-car, Toyota says

FCVs, like Toyota's production Mirai (pictured here on demonstration in Australia), can be driven without emitting CO2 so have high potential as a form of 'the ultimate eco-car', Toyota says

As fuel consumption regulations continue to strengthen in various countries, and as many automobile manufacturers advance their commercialisation of electric-powered vehicles, such as plug-in hybrids (PHVs) and electric vehicles (EVs), Toyota is working to further evolve conventional fossil-fuel-powered engines and transmissions. The reason, the automaker says: "To steadily promote reduction in CO2 emissions".

In 1997, Toyota launched sales of the Prius as the world's first mass-production hybrid vehicle (HV). Now, nearly 20 years later, hybrid vehicles have gradually grown in use, mainly in Japan, the United States and Europe. But, on a global scale, they have yet to become widespread. The widespread use of PHVs and EVs, which have already been introduced, mainly in Japan, the United States and Europe, is expected to take time. The vast majority of cars in use or on the market are conventional engine powered vehicles that consume large amounts of fossil fuels, such as petrol and diesel fuel, and they will continue to emit large volumes of CO2, as from before.

It is expected that it will take quite some time for the proliferation of vehicles that use electricity - some of which emit very little CO2 and some of which have no emissions at all - to make headway and for their effect on reducing CO2 emissions to become apparent. Therefore, to be able to stop the advance of global warming, finding other ways of reducing CO2 emissions, which are thought to play a role in the rise of global temperatures, is an urgent issue, Toyota thinks.

For the time being, it says, the vast majority of cars in use or on sale will remain conventional engine-powered vehicles, while HVs and PHVs, the use of which is expected to increase, also have internal-combustion engines. As such, considering that fossil fuels will continue to serve as automotive fuel for some time to come, improving the environmental performance of engines and transmissions can promote a measurable reduction in CO2 emissions that is proportional with an increase in the number of vehicles.

Toyota believes that developing conventional powertrain technologies is a sure, steady, realistic and effective means of reducing CO2 emissions.

Further reducing CO2 emissions through fuel diversification

Beyond the reduction of CO2 emissions through the widespread use of HVs and PHVs is the need to achieve zero CO2 emissions, Toyota believes. The widespread use of zero-emission vehicles, such as fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and EVs, is a must. The only way to achieve such is to use non-fossil-fuel hydrogen and electricity as automotive power sources and to develop powertrain technologies for vehicle electrification, such as fuel cell systems, motors and batteries, and power control units.

Toyota also believes hydrogen and electricity are important alternatives to fossil fuels for use in automobiles. As such, it intends to advance its development and commercialisation of zero-emission FCVs and EVs, which emit no CO2 during driving and are effective in making large contributions to the environment.

Taking into consideration the energy situation and fuel infrastructure in various countries and regions, as well as consumer preferences and other factors in the market environment, the automaker is promoting the widespread use of FCVs and EVs, while considering the appropriate roles for each, and is aiming for even greater reductions in CO2 emissions.

However, it says, the road to fuel diversification is not an easy one.

"Such cannot be achieved by automobiles alone. Essential is the existence of a supply infrastructure (fuel infrastructure) for new fuels that can allow peace of mind in the use of automobiles that run on new types of fuel. For energy companies, that means new investment. Support by governments and municipalities is also indispensable."

Also necessary is the understanding of society and our customers and their acceptance of new fuels. This is because new fuels are different in many ways - such as in terms of fueling locations, fueling times, fueling methods and fuel costs - from fuels such as petrol and diesel fuel, with which vehicle owners are familiar with after so many years of use. New fuels could also mean fueling that is not as convenient as that in the case of the cars drivers are using today. This means that 'diversification' must apply not only to fuels but to customer values, as well.

This is especially true when it comes to FCVs, which use hydrogen - a fuel with which people rarely come in contact in daily life. Because hydrogen can be produced from various primary energy sources, beyond its environmental benefits, it is seen as an important energy resource that will be used in the future as a way to heighten energy security. FCVs, which use electricity created through a chemical reaction involving hydrogen and which can be driven without emitting CO2, have high potential as a form of 'the ultimate eco-car'. Toyota has been developing FCVs for more than 20 years. But issues still exist. These include understanding of hydrogen on the part of society and potential owners and the availability of hydrogen stations.

"Much time is still required for the widespread use of FCVs and the realisation of a hydrogen society," the automaker says.

Aware of this, Toyota says it was quick to initiate an FCV commercialisation project, resulting in the launch of the Mirai FCV in Japan in 2014, followed by sales in the United States and Europe.

"Toyota has taken up the challenge. This is just the beginning of what [we see] as a long-running challenge to make a hydrogen society a matter of fact and to make FCVs everyday vehicles."