What if the auto-manufacturer giant Toyota launched a plan to abolish gasoline internal combustible powertrains altogether, to curb CO2 emissions and have an environmentally friendly fleet available to the world mass by 2050? A lot of things will be done differently, including our daily routines with sparser streets and cleaner air, and nonetheless, the types of vehicles we buy. Along the same lines, the overall corporate strategy would most certainly have to adjust, too, where dawdled readjustments take the biggest hits. Toyota’s new wheel line arrangement corresponds to Japan’s environmental policy that guides all auto makers over the next five years with set objectives to be realized around 2020.
Although gasoline have powered our cars for centuries, new environmental standards have been rolled out around the globe consistently that, obviously, have proved to pose new limitations and technological challenges that car manufacturers must take in to account. Thus, industrialists have turned to Hybrid and Fuel Cell mechanisms in order to satisfy newfangled requirements and, more than ever, cornerstone technological advancements that propel the industry in to the future with heightened efficiency.
As a matter of fact, Toyota had developed both the Hybrid and Fuel Cell technology many years ago, since the world saw the first Toyota Prius on a commercial scale in 1997, two decades past. The hybrid didn’t take long to top the best sellers’ list in North America and Japan. The intuition behind the policy stemmed from the acknowledgement that the environment was being destroyed around the globe on transportation’s behalf and a daily basis. Thus yields the importance that underlies long-term plans to be implemented within the next 20-30 years, including a 90% carbon dioxide emission reduction from 2010 levels mandate on newly purchased cars, as well as effective usage of renewable energy sources for both the upstream auto manufacturing and downstream automobiles itself with improved fuel efficiency of either Hybrids, Plug-ins, Electric Vehicles, or Hydrogen-based powertrains. Toyota aims to maximize the sales of such units by 2050, starting with the Prius, of course, and now followed by the Mirai Fuel Cell module’s production capacity expansion that launched in 2014. Since then, annual sales increases have targeted around 3,000 units by 2017, and 30,000 units by 2020, or an increase of around 1,000 units per month in Japan.
Toyota has made clear that Hydrogen – Fuel Cell powertrains system will be entirely pollution free. The only thing coming out of the tailpipe is water, plausibly potable, even, from an internal hydrogen-oxygen reaction. Performance can be expected to be in the same ranges with comparable combustible foremodules over 700 km distance on a full tank of hydrogen fuel. Refueling, on the other hand, takes only three minutes but is where the major challenge is posed. Creating a network of hydrogen fueling stations for refueling is undoubtedly taxing, perhaps even more so than the creation of the vehicle itself, as the stations will need to be distributed over a vast geographical area with budget requirements up to 500 million yen per station, or around 4.19 million dollars, which is as much as five times the cost of building a gasoline station. Nonetheless, Japan expects open 100 hydrogen fueling stations by March 2016.
Major manufacturers, Tesla, Nissan, Volkswagen, along with other Chinese manufacturers, are all interested to invest in clean energy platforms in light of developing a sustainable transport system to replace gasoline in the close future.
On the German’s side of things, manufacturers have planned to develop Compact Electric Vehicle platforms to be used with several auto brands, such as the up-scale Phaeton model, Volkswagen’s Electric Vehicle for the future. However, the e-Charging challenge is two-tier; one in creating the recharging network for electric units and the second being the amount of time required for each recharge. The latter, perhaps, the largest obstacle to the concept as the customers might opt out of the deal all together if the recharge time takes so long. Thus, manufacturers are taking considerable efforts to develop a battery system that can extend the operating time and, more so, minimize the re-charge time. Another issue manufacturers need to consider is the range, or the Range Anxiety factor, which is the distance an electric unit can travel per charge before running out of zip. Nissan’s Leaf, for example, can travel up to 280 km per charge and has recently increased by 20% over the previous generation. Quite impressive for such a small expense to refuel, however, not quite far enough in comparison to the average distance a combustible powertrain can last from one tank.
Fortunately, the Hybrid mechanism is up to the rescue. The software and technology developed for the Hybrid system can be applied to that of Fuel Cell vehicles, as well as the compatible various parts. The eco-car battery and the electric powertrain, on the other hand, should alter auto-manufacturing on the structural level, where e-gadgets and equipment and IT companies should see expanded business opportunities from the industry.
Car manufacturers around the world must develop solutions to overcome challenges of the future, they be environmental regulations, powertrain categorical limits, along with finding new ways to cope with ever changing consumption behavior patterns, and more importantly, be the influencer themselves. … Another 35 years is short in comparison to how long it took to get this far, nonetheless, we should be seeing environmentally friendly cars roaming the streets fairly shortly. Would there be more sidewalk activities with no masks required, as well? That sure sounds like a plan doesn’t it.
Compiled by BLOG.SCGLogistics
References and pictures asia.nikkei.com, toyota.co.jp