Toyota Technical Review
Information on the publication of TOYOTA Technical Review (TTR) Vol.68, which lists the latest Toyota technologies.
Date of Issue
- (Japanese Version) April 28, 2023
- (English Version) April 28, 2023
- Toyota's Full Lineup Strategy for Carbon Neutrality
- Award-winning articles
According to the agreement of the electric version sales site
Information on sales site
- Kinokuniya web store (for individuals) (Japanese only)
- Kinokuniya web store (for corporate) (Japanese only)
- Maruzen eBook Library (Japanese only)
- Toward Achieving Carbon Neutrality
Special Feature: Toyota's Full Lineup Strategy for Carbon Neutrality
- The Toyota bZ4X
- The Toyota bZ3
- The C+pod Ultra-Compact BEV
- Supporting the Development of a Hydrogen-Energy Based Society by Expanding Fuel Cell Application
- Abnormal Combustion Control Technology for Hydrogen Engines
- The Spread of Electrified Vehicles as a Power Source
Technical Award News
- Energy-Saving Activities Based on New Perspectives through Collaboration in Manufacturing, Production Engineering, and Utility (Infrastructure) Sectors
- Virtual Human Body Model
- Toyota / Lexus Teammate Advanced Drive
List of Externally Published Papers of FY2021
Toward Achieving Carbon Neutrality
Member of the Board Directors
We are currently facing and searching for solutions to a range of social issues such as economic instability and an energy crisis caused by factors including global warming, climate change, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The elements that make up these social issues are intertwined with each other in complex ways. As we speak, no one has been able to sketch out a clear road toward their resolution.
In particular, since the concept of carbon neutrality is closely associated with social issues involving all aspects of the environment, countries and regions around the world have started to pursue a wide range of carbon-neutral initiatives. With Japan pledging to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, this has become a major social issue for every sector of industry. Carbon neutrality is defined as a state of net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which can achieved by balancing the emissions of greenhouse gases with their removal. For the automotive industry, this means eliminating CO2 from the whole vehicle life cycle, including the CO2 generated in the manufacturing of materials and parts, power generation, driving, fuel production, as well as scrapping and recycling. In addition to new vehicles, it is also important to include vehicles already on the road when considering the concept of carbon neutrality.
As often stated by Akio Toyoda, the President of Toyota, our mission is to provide goods and services that make people throughout the world happy through the development and manufacture of vehicles or, in other words, to "mass produce" happiness. We regard social issues related to preserving the environment as one of the highest priorities of our business, and we have a long history of pursuing a wide range of initiatives to this end.
Since the debut of the first-generation Prius in 1997, Toyota has worked to reduce CO2 emissions through the development of different types of electrified vehicles, including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). An important step toward achieving carbon neutrality is correctly understanding its fundamental meaning. More specifically, this understanding must begin from the awareness that the enemy of carbon neutrality is carbon, not the internal combustion engine. Although reducing the consumption of fossil fuels through wider adoption of electrified vehicles is important, vehicles powered by engines that use carbon-neutral fuels such as hydrogen, e-fuels, and biofuels have also been proposed in recent years as possible solutions. These fuels can be applied to means of transportation other than vehicles, such as trains, boats, and the like, as well as a wide range of other industries, including power generation, energy, and steel. We are also undertaking joint research to accelerate development and to commercialize cutting edge technologies in the energy and environmental fields, particularly solar cells, through tie-ups with relevant external organizations and companies. Some of our other initiatives include developing efficient household storage batteries capable of supplying power using BEVs even after a natural disaster, a project to develop new future cities that use low carbon fuel (LCF) or hydrogen in Fukushima Prefecture, activities to reduce CO2 during vehicle manufacturing, and research into CO2 absorption using nature or industrial technologies. As well as the development of vehicles and carbon-neutral fuels, we think that it is important to implement a multi-dimensional strategy for both achieving carbon neutrality and absorbing CO2, including energy management using household storage batteries, reducing CO2 during vehicle manufacturing and scrapping, and so on.
In recent years, Europe and the U.S. in particular have started to focus on BEVs as the solution for achieving carbon neutrality. Although both BEVs and FCEVs have zero tailpipe CO2 emissions, the method by which the electricity or hydrogen fuel is produced affects the scale of CO2 emissions over the whole vehicle life cycle. The popularization of electrified vehicles must be considered hand-in-hand with how the fuel is produced. In other words, to realize carbon neutrality, it is important to select methods that can realize the appropriate reduction of CO2 across every aspect of energy production, transportation, and use. We also believe that environmental technology can only be truly regarded as good for the environment when it is used by a large number of people. For this reason, we think customers should be given the option of selecting vehicles equipped with various types of environmental technologies as well as just comparatively expensive BEVs.
The introduction of BEVs is making progress in Europe where the utilization of renewable energy is growing. In China, compact BEVs are rapidly becoming popular in rural areas and hydrogen buses are being adopted in cities. In Brazil, bioethanol has been practically adopted. In addition, in the U.S., there is rising demand for various forms of mobility, including BEVs, PHEVs, and FCEVs. The diversity in the energy situation depending on the region demonstrates the fact that there is not a single solution for reducing CO2 emissions. We believe that, just as there is more than one way to climb a mountain, there is more than one route to reach carbon neutrality, and regulations should not limit our choice of technologies. Of the world's many automakers, Toyota is distinguished by the wide lineup of vehicles we sell to customers in various regions around the world, from compact cars to sedans, SUVs, premium models, and commercial vehicles. Therefore, we need to offer a full lineup of choices to provide mobility that properly supports the convenience of our global customer base.
This edition of the Toyota Technical Review describes BEVs, FCEVs, new applications for fuel cells (FCs), hydrogen engines, and infrastructure technologies that support these products as part of our full lineup strategy to help achieve carbon neutrality. It describes our multi-dimensional approach to carbon reduction and the development of carbon-neutral vehicles in line with the energy situation and customer preferences in every region as an automaker that offers a full lineup of products around the world.
First, BEVs. We intend to create a full lineup of BEVs to expand the available choices of electrified vehicles. Of these, the Toyota bZ series of BEVs is aiming to win the acceptance of as many customers as possible around the world. The name "bZ" stands for "beyond zero," and expresses our desire to provide customer value that goes beyond zero emissions.
In China, we are working to help protect the environment by accelerating our mobility-related efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. For this purpose, to help realize people-centered and highly convenient sustainable mobility, Toyota has developed the bZ3 as the second model in its bZ series of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) after the bZ4X. The bZ3 was developed locally in China as a product specifically for Chinese customers.
At the same time, in Japan, we are introducing ultra-compact BEVs and walking area BEVs that closely meet the needs of a wide range of customers to help realize the concept of mobility for all. First, in addition to short-distance daily use, the C+pod was specifically developed for corporate users visiting customers on a regular basis, and users in urban or mountainous communities. The new C+walk walking area mobility series is smaller than conventional mobility and includes a standing type BEV that was launched on October 1, 2021, as well as seated type and wheelchair-linked type BEVs (launch date yet to be decided). Our aim is to offer mobility that delivers peace of mind and safety to everyone at all stages of life, including people capable of driving a normal vehicle, elderly drivers, people that have returned their driving license, and people in wheelchairs.
The next type of mobility is FCEVs powered by hydrogen energy. Among carbon-neutral fuels, hydrogen can also play an extremely important role as an energy carrier. The inconveniences of electricity can be offset by converting it into hydrogen. In the form of hydrogen, energy can be stored for extended periods of time and even transported easily in accordance with demand. In addition, ammonia and e-fuels, which are regarded as promising sources of energy for the future, can be produced by reacting hydrogen with nitrogen and CO2. Toyota is also aiming to further contribute to the realization of a hydrogen energy-based society. Initiatives include the modularization of FC components to facilitate the application of FCs to a wider range of products. It is also working to create new value for FCEVs by taking advantage of the abundant power generation capacity of FCs to raise the performance and effectiveness of FCEVs in non-driving situations. The transportation sector is also studying hydrogen engines in addition to FCEVs. Hydrogen is easier to ignite than gasoline and is therefore more susceptible to abnormal combustion. This edition of the Toyota Technical Review also analyzes the particular abnormal combustion mechanism of hydrogen engines and examines technologies capable of controlling this phenomenon.
The final articles of this edition's special feature cover power charging and supply technologies, which will play an indispensable role in popularizing the electrified vehicles described above. Toyota has adopted a multi-dimensional strategy to help achieve carbon neutrality while increasing the choices available to customers. As part of this strategy, the expansion of charging infrastructure will play a key role in encouraging the widespread adoption of BEVs. Various issues that affect automakers are being examined, such as the ideal form of charging infrastructure for carbon neutrality, eliminating customer concerns and complaints, ensuring convenience, and so on. Power supply technologies are also entering wider use as part of next-generation power systems, such as local power generation systems for local consumption coordinated with renewable energy sources to help achieve carbon neutrality.
We are faced with extremely difficult issues to overcome before we can realize a sustainable society. In 2018, Toyota declared its intention to change its business model from a company that builds cars to a mobility company. This is rooted in the idea that technology must contribute to people's happiness and wellbeing. Precisely because we live in such an age, we must be a company that is needed by people and society. Our mission of mass producing happiness stems from this idea.
Finally, the concept behind the planning of this edition of the Toyota Technical Review can be summarized in the key words "beyond zero." These words illustrate our determination to pass our beautiful home planet onto the next generation, In addition to resolving the issues that we are facing as individuals and communities (i.e., turning the negative impacts of these issues to zeroes), we are also looking beyond zero to create and provide new value by continuing to diligently seek ways to improve lives and society for the future. We believe that, hand-in-hand with the 5.5 million people involved in Japan's automotive industry, we can make steady progress to resolve the issues of our society and help to realize our aim of mass producing happiness.