Toyota Announces Ambitious Clean Car Plan

After weeks of bad news about Volkswagen cheating the system by faking fuel efficiency, it is reassuring to hear forward-thinking news from another major car manufacturer, Toyota. Just in time for the upcoming Climate Summit in Paris (December 2015), the Japanese automaker announced an ambitious goal: to nearly eliminate gas-powered only cars by 2050.

The goal is to transition their primary production of gas-powered cars to hybrid and fuel cell-powered cars in order to dramatically reduce toxic emissions. By doing so, the company will reduce emissions from Toyota vehicles by 90 percent compared with 2010 levels.

At a press conference this week in Tokyo, Senior Toyota Officer Kiyotaka Ise told reporters, “You may think 35 years is a long time, but for an automaker to envision all combustion engines as gone is pretty extraordinary.”

Toyota’s fuel cells run on hydrogen and boast zero-emissions. Toyota’s Mirai fuel cell car hit the market in Japan late last year and the company has already received 1,500 local orders for the climate-friendly Mirai. The Mirai is just reaching the U.S. and European markets this fall and is expected to make a splash with consumers wanting to do their part to reduce vehicular emissions.

The hybrid will rely on a mix of gasoline and an electric motor, so not entirely gas-free, but far more efficient and with far lower emissions than gas-only cars.

As part and parcel of their commitment to be better environmental stewards, Toyota also promised to reduce Co2 emissions from the manufacturing process. The goal is to see a 1/3 drop in emissions by 2030 of 2001 levels. Again, an ambitious plan. They will achieve this by relying more heavily on hydrogen manufacturing technology and the use of wind power.

The Toyota Prius, which became available to consumers in 1997, is the top-selling hybrid with about 4 million cruising roads worldwide. Now, Toyota is promising to offer a hybrid version in every vehicle category from SUVs to luxury sedans.

The Japanese automaker also promised to involve governments, affiliated companies and other “stakeholders” in its ambitious move to reduce emissions from the Toyota fleet.

Interestingly, electric-only cars were not part of Toyota’s future auto portfolio, which is in sharp contrast to Nissan Motor Company, which is heavily banking on this technology for their future nearly-zero emissions fleets.

Toyota, Nissan and other car manufacturers are finally admitting the inevitability that every nation, every citizen and every company in the world must move towards a nearly carbon-free economy due to the harsh reality of our warming planet and the earth’s limited resources.

Also, this week, the Green Car Journal has announced its five finalists for the magazine’s 2016 Green Car of the Year® award. The cars competing for this prestigious title include the Audi A3 e-tron, Chevrolet Volt, Honda Civic, Hyundai Sonata, and Toyota Prius.

Green Car Journal has been rating cars on their environmental impact since 2005. Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com was excited to report that “this is the strongest field of finalists we’ve seen in our annual Green Car of the Year® program. Each of the five nominees makes a strong environmental statement in distinctly different ways, with a common strategy of recognizing what’s most important to today’s drivers. Their use of wide-ranging powertrain technologies underscores that all approaches are essential to achieving important environmental goals.”

This is obviously good news for consumers this year and into the future, as finally a diverse array of greener car options are becoming available.

Source: www.care2.com, Cherise Udell