At its Kenshiki event for media this week, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) communicated the latest news on its European business strategy, sharing the company’s vision, new products and technology developments. Kenshiki means insight in Japanese, and this year’s event focussed on TME’s commitment to carbon neutrality, the acceleration of its electrification plan and its active role in building a hydrogen economy.
Path to Carbon Neutrality
During the main plenary briefing, Toyota executives explained the company’s strategy to reach carbon neutrality as quickly as possible, whilst minimising carbon emissions during the journey to neutrality.
The goal of minimising carbon emissions will be achieved by accelerating electrification and offering a diverse range of CO2 efficient powertrain solutions to all its customers.
In the coming years, Toyota will roll out an increasing number of practical and affordable zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) with the bZ4X being the latest model to be launched. By 2030, the ZEV sales mix is anticipated to be a minimum of 50% in Western Europe, with the capacity and capability to further increase should customer demand go even higher.
Moving beyond 2030, we expect to see further ZEV demand acceleration and Toyota will be ready to achieve 100% CO2 reduction in all new vehicles by 2035 in Western Europe, assuming that sufficient electric charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructures are in place by then, together with the renewable energy capacity increases that will be required.
Matt Harrison, President & CEO of Toyota Motor Europe
Gill Pratt, TMC Chief Scientist & TRI CEO, further explained that the path to carbon neutrality is most efficiently based on diversity of powertrain solution due to the wide diversity of markets around the world, stemming from three key factors: diverse nature of energy sources across regions, the different transportation needs of people and thirdly, the imperative to maximise the Carbon Return on Investment to ensure that use of scarce battery raw materials is optimised:
Whilst Toyota is committed to making millions of Battery Electric Vehicles available to customers, the way to reduce the most net carbon emissions globally is to use every item in our toolbox, including Hybrid Electric, Plug-in Hybrid Electric, Battery Electric and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles, with the proportions of each optimised to make best use of the infrastructure constraints and customer circumstances of every region, and the limited supply and improving performance of batteries.
Gill Pratt, TMC Chief Scientist & TRI CEO
More details of Toyota’s battery strategy were shared by Gerald Killmann, Vice President of TME R&D, following the recent global announcement of its €11.5 billion battery investment strategy.
Commercial production has started on the world’s first bi-polar NiMh battery which, as well as using less precious minerals, is lower in cost with double the output density of a regular NiMh battery.
By applying similar techniques to Li-Ion batteries, combined with further efficiencies in vehicle energy consumption, Toyota expects to see a 50% reduction in battery cost per vehicle, without deteriorating range, in the second half of the 2020s; thereby making battery electric vehicles more affordable and accessible.
On the keenly anticipated introduction of solid-state batteries, Mr Killmann confirmed that, following prototype testing last year, they will likely be first introduced in hybrid electric vehicles before wider deployment including battery electric vehicles with the aims of delivering higher output, longer range and shorter charging times.
Expanded Electrified Portfolio Driving Further Growth
TME expects to deliver 1.07m vehicles in 2021, for an estimated 6.3% market share – a new record and an increase of 80k units compared to 2020. In 2022, TME is planning to sell around 1.3m vehicles for a 6.5% market share – another new record.
Underpinning the anticipated 230k sales growth between 2021 and 2022 is strong product power, including wide availability of TNGA platforms and a highest-ever electrification mix of around 70% currently.
It is also supported by strong new model introductions including the new bZ4X, the Aygo X, the GR86 and the Corolla Cross.
Kenshiki Deep Dives
A series of Kenshiki product and technology deep dives followed the main meeting:
- European premiere of Toyota’s new bZ4X battery electric vehicle, the first of a series of seven bZs BEVs to be built on the dedicated eTNGA platform.
- Toyota’s new Corolla Cross SUV was presented, debuting the Fifth-Generation hybrid system
- Lexus unveiled its ambitious growth plans of 20 model launches by 2025 almost doubling volume to 130,000 units. Two new products were presented – the new NX450 Plug-in electric model and the ROV Concept buggy. The brand also showed a teaser of the new all-electric RZ.
- H2 Momentum Deep Dive shared the latest status on Toyota’s hydrogen leadership, as its technology can help decarbonise the wider economy beyond transport. Toyota hydrogen technology is already integrated into passenger cars, buses, trucks, trains, marine and stationary applications. It was announced that the TME will begin production in Belgium of the Toyota Generation 2 Fuel Cell module from January 2022.