Toyota’s commitment to a comprehensive vision of sustainable mobility is evident at the 2008 Johannesburg International Motor Show where the company’s advanced technology Hybrid Synergy Drive will be a focal point of the Toyota stand.
Toyota is using the Johannesburg International Motor Show to illustrate its commitment to finding and implementing solutions that lessen the environmental impact of cars on our society. Toyota’s world-leading hybrid technology is at the core of this strategy as the company moves along a path towards the ultimate eco-car.
In this context, Toyota believes innovation in powertrain development can contribute to environmental solutions in three ways: by improving fuel efficiency, by making exhaust emissions cleaner, and by supporting energy diversification. Hybrid Synergy Drive is an enabler for vehicle concept innovation that allows Toyota to push forward towards new automotive frontiers.
On display is the Prius, the pioneer of practical hybrid motoring, and a proven solution with more than a million sales to its credit. The Prius fully demonstrates the practical use of Hybrid Synergy Drive in a volume production vehicle for sale in global markets.
Also on display is the Toyota FT-HS (Future Toyota Hybrid Sports), a concept car that is in complete contrast to the Prius. The FT-HS represents Toyota’s vision of the 21st century sports car. By combining an advanced hybrid powertrain with essential sports car fundamentals, FT-HS overcomes the dilemma that eco-friendliness must compromise driving pleasure. The FT-HS Concept is a front engine, rear-wheel drive sports car with a projected 0-100 km/h acceleration time in the four second range. This is made possible by coupling a 3,5 litre V6 engine with a next generation sports hybrid system. This combination has a target output of 300 kW.
These two vehicles, just a small sample of Toyota’s great diversity in hybrid drive solutions and alternative fuels technology and research, illustrate the company’s vision of a path to sustainable mobility. Extensive research and development programmes examine every aspect of vehicle design, performance, safety and the information infrastructure that will underpin driving in the future.
Toyota’s Earth Charter, initially developed as long ago as 1922, has as one of its current policies a commitment that states: “In order to contribute towards a prosperous 21st century society, aim for growth that is in harmony with the environment and accept the challenge of zero emissions throughout all areas of business activity”.
Motor vehicles interact with the environment throughout their entire life cycle – from their initial design and they way they are manufactured, to their use on the road and their eventual end-of-life disposal. For Toyota, minimizing the overall environmental impact of the motor vehicle has long been a priority at every level of the company’s organisation and activities.
Building completely recyclable cars with zero net emissions is Toyota’s foremost challenge for the years to come.
Since humans learned to utilise the energy derived from fossil fuels to power machines the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen steadily. Toyota is developing more efficient automobile engines and transmissions to help control an increase in emissions and mitigate the dangers of global warming.
Ultimately, as the world’s energy needs escalate, automotive fuels will have to diversify in response to rising petroleum prices, the decline in the size of a finite resource, and other pressures. Alternative fuels, made from plant materials hold the promise of sustainable renewal of fuel resources. Hybrid technology is delivering on the promise of reduced fossil fuel consumption as this advanced technology becomes more common place in our society.
It is expected that energy resources will gradually diversify over the medium term and Toyota is already developing the technologies that support the most promising of these alternative fuel supplies.
To this end Toyota already has the technology to allow all its petrol engines to run reliably on a mix of petrol with a 10% bio-ethanol content. In addition Toyota is introducing flex-fuel vehicles that run on up-to 100% bio-ethanol in Brazil.
Synthetic gas-to-liquid (GTL) fuel can be derived from natural gas and supplied as a diesel blend or clean alternative to diesel fuel. Toyota believes that Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthetic diesel, a process perfected by SASOL, is another alternative fuel solution which is free of sulphur and aromatic components and has a high cetane rating.
While hydrogen can be derived from a number of raw materials, and does not produce any CO2 when it is used as a fuel, the need for a complex refuelling infrastructure is one of several issues that need to be addressed before this fuel can have any wide spread use.
Toyota has had a fleet of market ready fuel-cell hybrid vehicles on lease in the USA and Japan for the past six years and is continuing research into this technology to further refine it. As battery technology advances, even electricity will become and increasingly viable alternative, particularly in urban transport applications.
While all these alternative energy solutions provide hope for the future, it is hybrid technology that holds the current advantage. Hybrid technology can help maximise the merits of all energy resources, whether they are conventional, such as diesel or petrol, or alternative fuels.
For this reason Toyota is committed to the continued development of hybrid systems as one of the company’s core vehicle technologies to combine different sources of energy to maximise their individual strengths. In this way Toyota is enabling new visions in innovative and environmentally friendly hybrid driving and is targeting one million hybrid vehicle sales a year by early in the second decade of the 21st century.
Toyota is proud to show two of these solutions, in diverse applications, at the Johannesburg International Motor Show.