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Full steam ahead at Toyota UK

Posted by: on November 9th, 2015 Comments Off

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Since the mid 1700’s steam has been widely used to provide power to industry – fast forward 300 years from the birth of the Industrial Revolution and dream of a major car manufacturing plant that uses no steam!

That’s exactly what was done at Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd plant in Derbyshire – the home of European built Auris and Avensis Hybrids.

The Facilities department was responsible for producing steam to be used in the pre-treatment of air supplied to the painting booths for the vehicle body and other plastic components. Additionally Toyota facility team has been responsible for maintaining the three large steam generation boilers for the last 25 years!

The project started back in 2010, soon Toyota UK Facilities and Environment Department realized they could not do this alone and engaged in an extensive programme with multiple stakeholders on a global scale.

The dream was to convert the plants Air Supply House from steam to water spray humidification:

  • - Introduction of the new highly efficiency gas burners.
  • - Conversion of the plant’s Paint shop to gas burner from steam heating.
  • - Conversion of Paint shop phosphate tank heating from steam to a ‘Low pressure hot water boiler’.
  • - Conversion of the plants Paint shops Topcoat and Primer production lines.


Step by step, with meticulous planning, teamwork and quality checks, five years after the initial dream Toyota UK decommissioned the boilers and went steam-less!

The elimination of steam demand at Toyota UK reduced the site Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 8200 tonnes per year (that’s the equivalent of nearly 550 UK family homes CO2 emissions each year).


However, the story continues, the redundant boilers have been sold and are destined for a new home in Pakistan.

If you thought the programme to get the boilers out of Toyota UK was an epic feat, can you imagine the logistics involved to get them to Asia!

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Fuel cell 2.0 at Tokyo Motor Show 2015

Posted by: on October 30th, 2015 Comments Off


Tokyo Motor Show 2015 is welcoming its first visitors as we speak. Building on the enthusiasm with which the Mirai fuel cell car was received at its recent launch, Toyota presents 2 brand new fuel cell-powered concepts at the show.


Toyota FCV Plus Concept

The FCV Plus Concept takes the idea of hydrogen one step further. Not only does it provide zero emission driving, it is also conceived to work as a miniature power-plant that can give energy back to society. The FCV Plus concept embodies our plans for an eco-friendly future where hydrogen energy is widespread in its use: the fuel cell vehicle isn’t only a means of transport; it is also a tool to turn hydrogen into electricity so that it becomes a power source for general use in the community.

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So how does that work? In addition to the vehicle’s own hydrogen tank, the car can also generate electricity directly from hydrogen stored outside the vehicle. The Toyota FCV Plus concept’s fuel cell stack can be reused as an electricity generating device, enabling to fuel other vehicles or to add power to building grids if needed.

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And again, why based on hydrogen? Compressed hydrogen has a higher energy density than batteries, can be generated from a wide range of raw materials (e.g. renewable electricity, bio-mass) and is easy to store, making it a promising future energy source.

Clean generation of hydrogen from a wide range of primary energy sources will make local, self-sufficient power generation a reality, and fuel cell vehicles will take on a new role as power sources within their communities. Our aim is to add an all-new sense of purpose to the automobile by turning fuel cell vehicles from eco-cars into energy-cars.



Lexus LF-FC Flagship Concept

At the heart of the LF-FC is a high output fuel cell power system that energizes the rear wheels, and also sends power to two in-wheel motors in the front, making the LF-FC all-wheel-drive. This innovative drive system allows precise torque distribution control between the front and rear wheels, giving the full-size sedan exceptional dynamic handling and superior road stability. The strategic placement of the fuel-cell stack at the rear of the vehicle, power control unit at the front and T-formation configured hydrogen fuel tanks result in front and rear weight distribution optimal for a sporty sedan.


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“With fuel cell vehicles, we are really still at the beginning, so it is hard to predict how quickly this technology can develop”, says Moriai-san, the Chief Engineer of the FCV Plus. “But I expect that this type of car, with a much downsized fuel cell stack and compact electric motors in each of the wheels could become reality in the next 10 à 15 years.”


Having these 2 new fuel cell concepts presented so quickly after the Mirai launch with a strong vision of a hydrogen-based future conveys a very clear message: TOYOTA believes firmly in this technology and the Mirai is opening the door to a new and better tomorrow.







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Toyota retains crown for most valuable automotive brand

Posted by: on October 6th, 2015 Comments Off


Toyota’s brand value grew by 16% to continue leading the automotive sector in the Best Global Brands 2015 report published by Interbrand while continuing to maintain its Top 10 position from last year. Toyota’s brand is now valued at USD 49,048 million.  It is the twelfth consecutive year for Toyota to be ranked top automotive brand and the overall record high 6th spot versus 8th in 2014.

The highlights of this year’s ranking include technology and automotive brands dominating the list, holding a combined 28 positions out of 100; as well as the recognition towards integrated solutions brands offer for individual needs of the customer:

“The Best Global Brands report examines what it takes for brands to succeed in today’s hyper-fragmented world. As people demand immediate, personalized and tailored experiences, business and brands need to move at the speed of life,” says Jez Frampton, Interbrand’s Global Chief Executive Officer. “Many of the brands in this year’s Top 100 are so intuitively aligned with people’s priorities, that they are able to seamlessly integrate into their everyday lives.”

“Moving at the speed of life” – the title of this year’s report, is a native philosophy for Toyota, as we are committed to the creation of ever better mobility solutions. This is an outward, consumer-centred approach to transportation, shaped by the needs of customers.


We believe that no single technology can meet such a diversity of requirements. For this reason, we aim to provide a range of mobility solutions that can respond to the different necessities that customers will have at different times. This is part of the mobility roadmap we have been developing for over a decade.

Electric vehicles will best serve the needs urban mobility. We are currently trialling this in Grenoble, where we are proving innovative products like the i-ROAD and the COMS in a car sharing experiment. For everyday use, Hybrid – the technology we spearheaded in 1997 with the launch of Prius – and plug-in hybrids will remain the powertrain of choice for the majority of our customers. Fuel Cell vehicles powered by hydrogen will cater for the remaining needs of long-distance mobility in a society ever more concerned about pollution. To make this happen, we have opened over 5,680 fuel cell patents for the royalty-free use this year, including those used for Toyota Mirai, world’s first mass produced fuel cell sedan which is entering sales in Europe this month.


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Ground-breaking: First public hydrogen station in Belgium is being built on Toyota land

Posted by: on October 5th, 2015 Comments Off


Joining Ms Annemie Turtelboom, Vice-Minister-President of the Flemish Government, Flemish Minister for Budget, Finance and Energy, Mr Masahisa Nagata, Toyota Motor Europe Executive Vice-President, Mr Diederick Luijten, Air Liquide Benelux Industries Director for Industrial Merchant, and Mr Bert De Colvenaer, Executive Director, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen-Joint Undertaking, dug a shovel in the ground to kick off the construction of the hydrogen station.

There are times when ground-breaking moments call for an actual… ground breaking. Last Friday, the construction of the very first public hydrogen station in Belgium has started on the land of Toyota Motor Europe in Zaventem.


The shovels have been already dug in the ground to prepare for the opening to the public by mid-2016. Mirai drivers, as well as drivers of other fuel cell vehicles, will of course have access to the station 24h a day, 7 days a week. The station will be built, maintained and operated by Air Liquide.

We have already announced at the Frankfurt Motorshow that Belgium would be the fourth country in Europe to commercialise world’s first mass-produced fuel-cell sedan. Toyota Mirai will start sales from the first half of 2016.


With a range similar to a conventional car and with a refuelling time of less than 5 minutes, the Toyota Mirai does not emit any harmful emissions – only water leaves the tailpipe. Just like with the Prius launched in Europe in 2000, which has since become popular and spawned several other hybrid vehicles, Toyota wants Mirai to begin a new era in clean mobility and intends to popularise zero emissions fuel cell mobility within a couple of decades.

The first public hydrogen station in Belgium will be connecting the country to the ever growing European network of hydrogen stations.


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Toyota Mirai: innovation of the decade

Posted by: on September 30th, 2015 Comments Off


• Germany’s Center of Automotive Management selects the 100 most disruptive automotive innovations
• Comparison of over 8,000 innovations in the automotive industry of the last decade has resulted with the fuel cell vehicle leading the ranking
• Launched in 2012, the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid landed in third place in the ranking

The Toyota Mirai is the outstanding innovation of the past decade: the fuel cell vehicle landed at the top of the Germany‘s Center of Automotive Management’s (CAM) ranking of the world’s 100 most significant automotive engineering innovations.


With the first European customers taking delivery in the coming weeks in Germany, Denmark and the UK, this hydrogen-powered zero emission sedan ushers in a new era to the automotive world as we know it.

To make their ranking, the CAM team, based in Bergisch Gladbach and headed by Prof. Dr. Stefan Bratzel, closely examined more than 8,000 new innovations in the period from 2005 to 2015. These were rated according to their relevance to the market and industry as well as their innovativeness.


The winner was world’s first mass-produced fuel cell sedan to become available to the public. Hydrogen is transformed in the fuel cell stack into electricity which powers the 114 kW/155 HP electric engine. FCVs are zero emission vehicles, emitting only water during driving. They are as easy to use as conventional vehicles and are capable of long trips thanks to their range and refuelling time, both comparable to those of a petrol car.

The CAM_Logo_300dpiToyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is another winner of the CAM survey and another first of its kind: the first mass-produced plug-in can be charged using any standard household socket and in addition to5.2 kW/h electricity uses just 2.1 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, which corresponds to 49 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometre. In the ranking of the 100 most significant innovations, that means a third place.


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