Jun. 16, 2003

Toyota Unveils "Eco-VAS" for Environmental Assessment

New System Allows Engineers to Systematically Assess Vehicle Life
Cycle Throughout Entire Development Process


Tokyo―TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) unveiled today a comprehensive environmental impact assessment system that allows―throughout the entire vehicle development process―the systematic assessment of the burden a vehicle will have on the environment as the result of its production, use and disposal. The new system, called Eco-VAS (Eco-Vehicle Assessment System), is aimed at heightening Toyota's vehicle-related environmental responses, in an effort to further reinforce its approach toward comprehensive environmental impact assessment.

Ever since TMC's in-house R&D facilities acquired ISO14001 certification in 1998, the company has been constantly monitoring its progress toward achieving environmental impact reduction targets. Eco-VAS, based on the concept of life cycle assessment (LCA), will serve as a valuable environment-management tool for those responsible for vehicle development.

Eco-VAS main points
  • At the very start of planning, the person responsible for a particular vehicle sets environmental impact reduction targets for that vehicle.
  • Assessment of environmental impact is carried out covering a wide range of items, including fuel efficiency, emissions and noise during vehicle use, the disposal recovery rate, the reduction of substances of environmental concern, and CO2 emissions throughout the entire life cycle of the vehicle from production to disposal.
  • A computer network (soon to be established) allows the project leader or other responsible person to access an environmental database from a personal computer, check the status of target achievement, continually confirm results and obtain feedback during the entire development process, in order to assess vehicle recovery rates and the amount of usage of substances of environmental concern and to carry out LCA.

Through these processes, and under the direct management of the person in charge, necessary measures to reduce the environmental impact of each vehicle can be devised in the initial stages of development, enabling steady development progress with an eye toward achieving targets and raising a vehicle's overall environmental performance.

Eco-VAS operational flow
Persons in charge of vehicle development set environmental impact reduction targets for vehicles at the planning stage and continually check target-achievement status from the start of the development process through to the start of production.

Environmental approach background and role of Eco-VAS
TMC has long positioned preservation of the global environment as a top-priority management issue and is actively promoting environmental preservation measures based on the Toyota Earth Charter, which outlines TMC's basic environmental policies, and the Toyota Environmental Action Plans, which specify TMC's mid- to long-term environmental activities and goals. TMC began implementing LCA for major vehicle series with the Estima Hybrid launched in June 2001.

Eco-VAS will be implemented in earnest from 2005 as part of efforts to promote initiatives for "development of a comprehensive prior assessment system" in accordance with the Third Toyota Environmental Action Plan (drafted in April 2000 with targets to be achieved in FY2005). TMC plans to carry out comprehensive environmental impact assessments during the planning stage for all newly developed vehicles.

Prior to full-scale implementation of Eco-VAS, the new system's computerized database network will start operation from 2004 and will be used for assessing the environmental impact of vehicles that are currently under development.