For the third consecutive year, Toyota and Lexus vehicles recorded the lowest average of CO2 emissions in the French market in 2014.
According to CO2 emission figures of all new vehicles sold in France in 2014*, Toyota and Lexus vehicles emitted the least CO2 – 105g/km in average. (see the bar chart below: average CO2 emissions by manufacturer)
This is the third consecutive year that Toyota and Lexus topped this ranking.
This week our Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF) plant has harvested 38kg of its own honey for the first time and offered it to employees.
A few days ago we got some new colleagues in Toyota Motor Europe (TME). Why is this a news? Because they are a bit different…
Remember we are currently running a Green Month Campaign and within this action 2 insect hotels were installed in the green areas of our offices. Slogan for this year is “Preserve & enhance nature for the future”.
The 2015 Green Month slogan is made up of two parts: preserving & enhancing nature. So what does this actually mean:
In order to preserve nature, we first needed to understand what we had on our sites. After a thorough investigation we realized:
- There are over 200 species on our sites
- There are many biotopes (or habitats) which give great potential to enhance biodiversity
- The biotopes show a dynamic interaction between species.
We can now move towards enhancing biodiversity on our sites. In this step, two insect hotels have been put up.
Following expert advice Toyota is concentrating on supporting wild and solitary bees as a priority, so we are establishing insect hotels to provide shelter and nesting sites. We are increasingly making our sites more friendly to these insects by allowing more natural / native flowers to complete their flowering and seed making cycles which, in turn, provide food and nectar for insects.
And as we wanted to treat our guests well we have asked Natuurpunt experts for advice how to position them (no, it was not PR who decided where to put them!)
Whilst we considered installation of beehives for TME sites, for the purposes of biodiversity enhancement an insect hotel is better than a bee hive. Further, TME sites and neighbouring territory do not have enough food for a beehive which can typically go up to 50,000 individual bees.
Many more activities and projects are planned in the future for making Toyota Motor Europe a more colourful and biodiverse environment. We’ll keep you posted!
2015 marks the 12th year that we support the Green Month Campaign. First started in Japan in June 1973, today it’s a Global environmental awareness campaign across all Toyota activities and entities.
Industrial water is used for all production processes in vehicle manufacturing. Next to energy and waste, it is one of the biggest environmental impacts we have in the automotive industry.
Toyota awarded the most environmentally friendly brand in 2015 in Germany’s largest survey of fleet customers
‘Mirai’ may mean ‘Future’ in Japanese, but Toyota’s first mass production fuel cell car has origins as far back as the mid-nineties. That is when the Japanese manufacturer laid out a strategy that was aimed at guaranteeing sustainable mobility for the 21st century.
Toyota’s goal was threefold. First, to improve overall efficiency, allowing drivers to do more with less. Secondly, to diversify the energy sources used to propel cars, in order to reduce dependence on dwindling oil reserves. And finally, to reduce the environmental impact of personal mobility.
Hybrid is the cradle
To this day, the most legendary heir of that strategy is the petrol-hybrid Prius. By combining a petrol engine with an electric motor, the concept behind Prius was as simple as it was ingenious. On the one hand, the car was able to recapture energy that traditionally goes to waste under braking, and store it in a compact on-board battery. And on the other hand, this battery fed an electric motor that could step in to support the engine, reducing its thirst for fuel. Through a clever gearbox, the system allowed petrol and electric to work in perfect symbiosis, and even permitted the engine to run as often as possible in its most efficient rev-range. Any surplus power was simply turned into electricity and sent to the battery.
Seen by many at first as little more than an oddity, Prius and its powertrain gradually won fans. Technology lovers chose it for its high tech content, environmentalists for the greener form of transport that it promoted. And when the rich and famous embraced it and started selecting it over the luxury barges and supercars that they preferred in the past, awareness and appreciation rocketed.
Today, hybrid technology has found its way into various other models of the Toyota range. One in three Yaris sold in Europe today is hybrid and the same goes for 40% of all Auris. Nor is Toyota longer alone as a hybrid manufacturer: in recent years, other brands have started to follow suit – including some of the brands that had been highly critical of the technology at the beginning.
Battery electric vehicles for last mile mobility
Less well known, is that Toyota’s plans extended much further. Its strategy placed hybrid at the heart of the future car market, but it also foresaw a clear role for electric vehicles. Having invested in battery research in its own Physical and Chemical Research institute founded as far back as 1940, Toyota didn’t hold out much hope for a sudden break-through in batteries that would suddenly make EVs a valid mass-market alternative for the regular family car. However, it did see opportunities for small battery-powered vehicles as an alternative for urban, last-mile mobility. In such usage, driving range is less of a priority, so the battery pack can be kept compact and light, in itself helping efficiency. The latest personification of this concept is the Toyota i-Road, which is deployed in pilot car-sharing programmes in Japan and in the French city of Grenoble.
Fuel Cell for high mileage vehicles
At the other end of the scale, for large vehicles designed for long distance travel, Toyota started researching Fuel Cell technology. Using hydrogen as a source for on-board electricity generation yielded a very different type of electric vehicle: one that was not limited by range or by recharging time.
In the subsequent development of EVs and Fuel Cell cars, Toyota relied heavily on the architecture it had devised for its hybrid powertrains. The principle of energy recuperation was applied to both vehicle types, whereas the hybrid concept was adopted in its entirety for the Fuel Cell prototypes. Here, the petrol engine from a traditional hybrid was simply replaced by a Fuel Cell stack, and the petrol tank by hydrogen tanks.
Today, after more than fifteen years of development, Mirai’s basic architecture borrows from that of the very first Prius. And several parts of its powertrain, such as the motor and the traction battery, are proven components that are shared with other Toyota hybrids.
Going forward, Toyota Fuel Cell cars can be expected to continue to benefit from the company’s ever strengthening expertise of hybrid technology.
This week, the Motomachi-plant in Toyota City starts mass production of the Toyota Mirai fuel cell car. A historic moment for Toyota, which also underlines the expertise and the know-how off the work-force at this Toyota City based plant.
Today, the plant employs approximately 7000 workers, most of them
involved in the production of models for the Japanese market, such as the Crown and the Mark X.
But since 2008, a small unit of highly skilled employees is assigned tospecial projects that require a lot of care, acting as pioneers within Toyota’s production workforce. This is the team that built the limited-run Lexus LFA supercar, and now, they have turned their attention to the Toyota Mirai.
They have a dual role: supplying the first mass-produced fuel cell car and gathering experience for future generations of the Toyota hydrogen-powered models.
The first months of Mirai production are destined for the Japanese market, but as from summer 2015, Motomachi will also start churning out cars for Europe and the US.
Toyota’s pioneering hydrogen-powered fuel cell car, the Toyota FCV Concept, will have its world debut at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show starting November 20. Don’t worry if you can’t make it, we’ve got all the juicy bits after the break. Click through to find out.