Developing Hybrid Technology Now Part of Toyota’s ‘Greener’ Campaign

Toyota is hedging its bets to meet increasing global emission standards, with expanded development of its gasoline-hybrid technology now added to the list.

The automaker said today it will expand the development of its hybrid technology over the next five years. That will support compliance with introducing more lower-emission engines as emissions standards increase in China, the U.S., and other regions.

That announcement comes about a week after Toyota President Akio Toyoda said that he’ll be heading up the company’s newly formed electric car group. He’ll be joined by other executives as the company reverses course and embraces all-electric vehicles after having moved away from the technology in 2014.

Developing longer-range electric car batteries is part of the company’s campaign to make its cars “greener.” The hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai and Prius Prime plug-in hybrid will also play into it.

“We need to take an aggressive approach to deal with changing regulations,” Toshiyuki Mizushima, president of Toyota’s powertrain division, told reporters at a briefing.

The company’s goal is to grow its hybrid technology personnel by 30 percent through 2021. By that time, Toyota is aiming to introduce 19 new lower-emission powertrain components made on a new manufacturing platform.

Toyota thinks it will produce measurable results. The Japanese automaker expects that by 2021, at least 60 percent of Toyota vehicles sold in Japan, the U.S., Europe, and China will feature new components which will reduce carbon emissions by 15 percent or more compared with the average amount of emissions of vehicles sold last year.

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The automaker believes that hybrid technology, introduced to the mass market nearly 20 years ago in the Toyota Prius, will be key to developing more near zero-emissions vehicles.

“The core technology of plug-in hybrids and electric and fuel-cell vehicles is based on hybrid technology. By increasing our hybrid team, we can leverage new developments for use in electric powertrains,” Mizushima said.

Toyota’s pledge to reduce its carbon emissions by around 90 percent by 2050 may need all of its alternative technologies well utilized in its fleet, which reaches around 10 million vehicles sold globally per year.

With that target in mind, Mizushima expects hybrid vehicles sales to double. That will mean hybrids will make up about 20 percent of Toyota’s global annual vehicle sales by 2025, up from around 10 percent now.


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