carbon neutrality

In earlier years, car companies focussed mainly on their business – primarily sales and aftersales of new motor vehicles. But as they grew bigger and their role as Corporate Citizens became more significant, they also had to do their part for society and the communities they operate. This is done in many different ways – from supporting needy organisations and supporting events to activities that do something to protect the environment.

For UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT), its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities have been diverse and growing in importance has been those related to the environment. This is aligned with the commitment of Toyota Motor Corporation to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, not only for its products but also every aspect of its business operations globally.


Although the ORC ROOKIE Racing Team did not for run the entire time at the recent Idemitsu 1500 Super Endurance 2022 (Thailand 25-Hour Endurance Race), its cars drew much attention during the first and last few hours that they were running. Their participation was not to compete in the race but to showcase the feasibility of carbon neutrality using existing technology and resources to offer multiple pathways to accelerate carbon neutrality in a prompt and practical manner.

Besides the two entries of the ORC ROOKIE Racing Team (founded and owned by Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation), there was also a Carbon-neutral fuel car entered by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Team Thailand which won the finish Carbon Neutral Power Cup and completed completing 443 laps.


Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has made a global commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, in support the Paris Agreement. As its products are sold in 204 countries and regions around the world, its affiliates also support the commitment in various ways to reduce CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions to an industry-leading level.

In Malaysia, apart from various initiatives that promote practical and sustainable reduction in CO2 emissions, UMW Toyota Motor Sdn. Bhd. (UMWT) and UMW Holdings Berhad (UMW) also carry out other activities. A recent example was a tree planting programme hosted by the Malaysian Nature Society at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park. The programme is part of UMW’s Green Shoots Initiative (UGS) in conjunction with the National 100 million Tree-Planting Campaign 2020-2025 which has the theme “Greening Malaysia: Our Trees, Our Life”.

The event was led by Faraed Mohd Sharif, Director of Customer First Group together with UMWT management, UMW CSR team, UMWT staff and students from Politeknik Sultan Idris Shah, Sungai Lang. Together, they planted 1,500 mangrove saplings of the Bakau Kurap or Rhizophora Mucronata species within the mangrove swamp forest.

The 80 participants were taken on an ecology walk through parts of the 296-hectare wide Kuala Selangor Nature Park to learn about the importance of mangroves to the environment and coastal communities. They were also exposed to a seedling and germination demonstration, while learning about the four families of mangroves and 13 different species of mangrove trees.

Greenhouse gas emissions like CO2 are a major cause of climate change issues and a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tonnes of CO2 per year. Mangrove forests can help mitigate the effects of climate change as they act as huge carbon sinks which are able to sequester two to four times more carbon than mature rainforests, in addition to helping shore up our coastlines and reduce the impact of severe flooding while supporting the biodiversity of the area.

Recognising this, UMW and UMWT have planted close to 40,000 trees to date with almost 50% being mangrove trees, in their journey towards offsetting CO2 emissions and realising their Zero Carbon goals by committing to planting some 300,000 trees over the next two years.

“Our initiatives contribute to climate resilience while cementing Toyota’s global commitment towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 through activities that offset CO2 emissions. We have also integrated the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as part of our operations as a guideline to help us reach carbon neutrality,” said Encik Faraed. “Moving forward, we are focused on providing ‘Mobility For All’, by supporting the creation of more independent, safe and eco-friendly mobility solutions in line with Toyota’s local mass manufacturing plans towards a ‘Clean, Safe and Secure Society.”

Solar panels at the ASSB factory in Selangor are used to provide electricity for operations.

Hybrid electric vehicle technology in the Toyota Corolla Cross is one approach to achieving carbon neutrality which is practical for Malaysia.

“UMW Toyota Motor will continue our active participation with sustainable tree planting activities in two more locations this year as part of the UMW Green Shoots Initiative to inspire more environmental conservation and restoration works within communities as we take steps toward investing in nature-based solutions for carbon sequestration,” he added.

UMWT places high priority on environmental conservation, hence, the company sets a target to achieve CO2 reduction from logistics activities and its assembly facility, as guided by the Toyota environmental action plan, through the installation of 2MW solar panels. The introduction of locally-assembled models with hybrid electric vehicle technology is another initiative towards carbon neutrality.

Toyota Eco Youth Programme has been helping develop strong eco-values and leadership skills among secondary school students since 2001.

The company’s environmental CSR efforts include its Toyota Eco Youth Programme, a collaboration between UMWT and the Ministry of Education that has been run annually since 2001. Through this program, the future generation of youths in secondary schools can develop strong eco-values and leadership skills.

Toyota: “No customer is left behind” in quest for carbon neutrality

Over the next 10 years, Honda will allocate approximately 5 trillion yen in the area of electrification and software technologies to further accelerate its electrification, which is approximately 62% of the company’s overall R&D expenses budgeted for the same. This expenditure will enable it to have up to 30 EV models globally by 2030 with production volumes of more than 2 million units annually. This huge investment will help Honda achieve carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities by 2050.

The strong focus on EVs – and presumably, Honda is referring to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) – may suggest that the carmaker will be decreasing development of internal combustion engines (ICE) and hybrid vehicles (HEVs). In fact, last year, it announced the intention to stop producing and selling new ICE vehicles, including hybrids, worldwide by 2040.

However, like what a number of major carmakers are saying, hurried adoption of BEVs is not a practical approach. Due to regional differences such as the level of customer acceptance, affordability, readiness of infrastructure and economic conditions, a singular approach to switching to BEVs globally is not going to work.

Honda will therefore be working on rapid transitioning to BEVs in markets and regions such as the USA, Europe, China and Japan while continuing with a more realistic solution for other areas. In those major markets for electrification, the ratio of BEVs and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) will be increased at a faster rate. In relation to overall unit sales, these zero emission vehicles will account for 40% of volume by 2030, 80% by 2035, and 100% by 2040.

In some markets like Malaysia, Honda also refers to its hybrid technology as e:HEV technology.

And even though North America is one of the regions that is part of the main electrification plan, Honda has still allocated R&D resources to develop new hybrid models for the near-term. This is to increase HEV volume of core models such as the CR-V, Accord and Civic which are produced there. Honda currently sells 4 HEV models in North America. However, Insight production will end in June to start production of the new CR-V Hybrid this year, followed by the Accord Hybrid, which will eventually make up 50% of the sales mix of each model.

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid

“We need to take into account multiple factors, such as the living environment and the penetration rate of renewable energy, rather than simply switching to electric vehicles,” said Toshihiro Mibe, Honda’s CEO. “We are ending conventional engines but we will still focus on hybrids, and it will be our strength in 2030 or even in 2035.”

Honda, along with Toyota, were the first brands to introduce HEVs and while the Prius was the first into the market, Honda’s first generation of Insight arrived in the USA 7 months before the Toyota HEV. Following the futuristic looking Insight was the Civic Hybrid in 2002 and then the Accord Hybrid.

Honda’s first model with hybrid electric technology was the Insight, which made its debut in Japan in 1999.

The CR-Z hybrid sportscar was sold between 2010 and 2016 but due to diminishing sales of coupes, Honda didn’t follow up with a second generation.

Honda continued to improve its hybrid technology (which it also refers to as e:HEV technology in some markets) as well as try to bring costs down and developed better hybrid powertrains for the next generations of the models. It also came out with a HEV sportscar, the CR-Z, in 2010 but as sales of coupes slowed down, the model line did not continue into a second generation.

So HEVs still have a future, more so now that they have moved from being of interest to early adopters to become more mainstream in the marketplace. While most HEV buyers would be aware that their car is powered by a petrol engine as well as an electric motor, the fact that a HEV needs no recharging (a plug-in hybrid or PHEV does) makes the technology ‘invisible’. It’s like turbochargers; in the 1970s, they were distinct features in high-performance engines but today, their presence is taken for granted in the new generation of downsized engines.

In Malaysia, Honda has been selling hybrid models since 2004 and assembling some models locally since 2012, starting with the Jazz Hybrid.

Honda’s continued attention to HEVs will also be beneficial in other markets where BEV adoption may be slow. HEVs can still help in a small way on the climate change issue as they generate lower carbon dioxide gases which have been identified as a major cause of global warming.

Honda Civic Hatchback e:HEV Hybrid for Europe – will it come to Malaysia too?

Proton doesn’t have solar-powered cars (yet) but it is making use of sunshine in another way – to power its factory in Tg. Malim, Perak. The initiative is one of the ways the Malaysian carmaker is helping meet the government’s target of becoming a carbon-neutral nation by 2050. The green initiative will reduce CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions by 11,536 tonnes a year, helping to address climate-change by lowering the generation of the global-warming gas.

Additionally, generating electricity from solar power also helps Proton save money on its electricity costs. The total amount generated is 12 MWp (MegaWatt peak) which is able to cover up to 25% of the electricity needs of the factory. Which began operations in 2003.

The solar panels are installed over two areas – one area is on the roofs of the manufacturing buildings and the other is a newly constructed covered carpark. The latter has the largest installation of solar panels over a parking lot in Malaysia and covers a land area of 23.4 acres (slightly more than 13 football fields).

There are covered spaces for up to 2,880 vehicles which are stored prior to being sent to Proton outlets for delivery to customers. At this time, the new vehicles spend a very short time there as there is a backlog of orders so completed vehicles are sent off quickly.

While solar panels are generally the same in function and design, those installed over the carpark are ‘bi-facial’ as the underside of the 20,544 panels can also capture sunshine reflected off the roofs of the shiny vehicles. Obviously, it’s not as much as the direct sunshine from above but it is still enough to make it worthwhile to collect and turn into electricity. The total amount of electricity generated from the carpark is 75% of the total generation.

Besides providing shelter for the new vehicles, the undersides of the solar panels can also capture sunshine reflected from the roofs of the vehicles to convert to electricity.

For now, there is no storage of electricity generated so if there is an unused amount over a certain period, it is sent to the national power grid, for which Proton will be paid. The total savings in electricity costs are calculated to be up to RM5.85 million and in as far as the cost of investment in this solar power project is concerned, Proton did not actually have to invest directly for the installation. The installation was undertaken by Pekat Group and its associate MFP Solar, and Proton is leasing the installation.

Using solar energy as part of a holistic energy-saving plan formulated by Proton in 2015 with the launch of the Proton Green Wheel and Green Policy. This has 5 phases which started with implementing an Energy Management System in its production plants and head office to collect and measure usage data. Following 2 years of energy data gathering and analysis, the company established energy baselines across its plants and offices which provided an insight into areas to reduce energy consumption.

Phase 2 consisted of Energy Efficiency measures where a number of energy-saving projects were implemented. These ranged from switching to LED lighting and chiller replacement with magnetic chillers, to using a master compressor unit to synchronize the compressed air supply to match real-time demand at each production shop.

This was followed by Phase 3, which focussed on Waste and Water Management. To achieve its aims, Proton implemented a system where recycled water was reused for the compressor cooling tower and to top up water for hydrant water tanks at the Tanjong Malim plant.

Phase 4 is the adoption of renewable energy via the solar energy plant while Phase 5 aims to digitize all the energy data on a cloud server to introduce AI and Big Data Analytics technology to provide the company’s energy managers with energy consumption predictions and prescriptive measures to reduce energy consumption across all plants and office facilities.

Over a 5-year period (2015 – 2020), these initiatives have achieved an energy bill savings of RM20 million or equivalent to 55,000 MWh savings, with over 40,000 tonnes of CO2 emission reduction.

Sunshine powers Shell stations in Malaysia

Fuel cells, originally developed for spacecraft, use hydrogen in a chemical reaction that can generate electricity that can then be sent to the battery pack. Hydrogen is chosen because it is readily available and renewable, and a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), like a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), generates no emissions although water is formed. The FCEV approach would be more ‘green’ as it generates its own electricity rather than drawing it from power stations that themselves may generate emissions.

The two prototype FCEVs developed by the UKM Fuel Cell Institute (Sel Fuel) team.

The auto industry has been developing FCEVs for some years and companies like Toyota and Honda have even sold such vehicles. Now a team from the Fuel Cell Institute (Sel Fuel) at University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) has also developed hydrogen FCEVs in collaboration with industry partners through the modification of electric vehicles.

Professor Ir. Dr. Siti Kartom Kamarudin and Associate Professor Dr. Mohd Shahbuddin Mastar @ Masdar from the UKM Fuel Cell Institute, who led the R&D team, developed the UKM FCH2HC, a mini version of a hybrid SUV, and the UKM-FCH2B, a buggy.

According to Siti Kartom, the UKM-FCH2B is unique as the battery has been replaced with a fuel cell system as an electrical power source to improve the buggy’s operational efficiency, as well as a 3000W stationary power generator for electrical appliances (campers will love the idea).

In order for FCEVs to be used, there will need to be hydrogen stations set up for them to refuel with hydrogen. Such station are only just being set up in limited numbers in more advanced countries.

“The UKM-FCH2HC is a hybrid vehicle that combines a fuel cell and a battery in a 0.5 ratio, with each power source capable of providing a capacity of up to 10 kW, allowing the vehicle to travel further. The fuel cell system is equipped with humidifiers and water coolers as supporting units to ensure optimal system performance at all times,” she said.

“During the chemical reaction, hydrogen and oxygen combine to produce electrical energy and harmless water vapour as a by-product, making hydrogen safe because it does not contaminate or harm the surrounding environment, unlike liquefied petroleum gas,” she explained.

How a fuel cell generates electricity from hydrogen.

Project began 15 years ago
“We began this project about 15 years ago with fundamental research to develop high-quality catalysts and membranes. Only in the last 3 years have we been able to bring together all of the fundamental components needed to develop the vehicle’s system,” she said. “As both the SUV and buggy will be used on campus, the speed is limited to 60 km/h. My team and I are looking forward to working on a second generation of the vehicles with increased capacity.”

The various elements of a FCEV.

Quick refuelling time
Mohd Shabuddin added that the quick charging time of a FCEV is a significant advantage. Fully electric vehicles require 7 to 8 hours to charge, depending on the charging station and battery capacity. FCEVs, on the other hand, offer faster refuelling times that can take less than 3 minutes depending on the pressure [of the hydrogen supply],” he said.

He added that one of the most difficult aspects of developing hydrogen cell fuel vehicles is their high cost. “We believe in the country’s direction toward greener energy will result in mass production of these vehicles, lowering the cost of production. The recent 12th Malaysian Plan includes hydrogen as one of the government’s renewable energy initiatives to develop hydrogen-powered vehicles, which I believe is a good start for the future of this technology,” he said.

Hydrogen FCEV models have been on sale to the public from Hyundai (top), Honda (middle) and Toyota (above).

The UKM Fuel Cell Institute has also been appointed as the Head of the Research Excellence Consortium Programme in the Transportation and Mobility category by the Ministry of Higher Education. The launching of the FCEVs recently symbolises the support and commitment of UKM towards Malaysia’s Low Carbon Mobility Development Plan 2021-2030 to reduce greenhouse gas up to 45% by 2030 and to be listed as a carbon-neutral country by 2050.

The next step after BEVs
FCEVs would be the next step after BEVs but even in advanced countries like America and Japan, the hydrogen fuelling network is small. The Japanese government has a plan to expand the hydrogen network as it wants to create a ‘hydrogen society’ that can be carbon-neutral. However, the costs are still high at this time and although there are FCEVs in use, the number is relatively small to justify investment in hydrogen stations for FCEVs to refuel.

Hyundai Motor Group aims to take lead in technology for future hydrogen society

For the auto industry, this decade is one which will require a major decision to be made on the type of vehicles to produce in future. It is clear that, besides going back to horse carriages, electrification of motorcars is the quickest solution to addressing one of the contributors to climate change. While there are ongoing debates about the actual benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) from a total perspective (including generating the lectricity), it cannot be denied that EVs generate no emissions and that can make a difference to air quality.

The industry has already begun its path to electrification and many have announced targets that will see 100% or almost 100% of the vehicles they produce and sell being fully electric by the end of this decade. But can this full-scale transformation take place globally? Can every country on the planet do away with combustion-engined vehicles and use only electrically-powered ones?

This is something the carmakers are grappling with and as Toyota has said, they do not want to leave any customer behind [by offering only EVs). Other carmakers have also said that they will introduce EVs in markets where conditions are acceptable and offer other solutions for those which cannot afford EVs in the immediate future. This can mean offering hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) which are a bit less costly or try to cleanse the emissions of the combustion engine as much as possible.

Ford’s approach
Ford has announced its approach which will be to cover both the EV segment and the ‘old’ segment where combustion-engined vehicles will still be in demand. It will have two business units in its company as part of the Ford+ plan introduced last May. There will be two distinct, but strategically interdependent, businesses – Ford Blue and Ford Model e – the former focussing on products with combustion engines and the latter to be fully focussed on EVs and have the agility of a start-up.

Driving the change was recognition that different approaches, talents and, ultimately, organizations are required to develop and deliver of electric and digitally connected vehicles and services, while also fully capitalize on the company’s iconic family of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

Ford has over 100 years of experience in manufacturing motor vehicles and it will draw on this vast experience to continue making conventional combustion engine vehicles as well as the new generation of EVs.

“This isn’t the first time Ford has reimagined the future and taken our own path,” said Ford Executive Chairman, Bill Ford. “We have an extraordinary opportunity to lead this thrilling new era of connected and electric vehicles, give our customers the very best of Ford, and help make a real difference for the health of the planet.”

Dedicated EV division in China
The creation of Ford Model e was encouraged by the success of small, mission-driven Ford teams that developed the Ford GT, Mustang Mach-E SUV and F-150 Lightning pickup as well as Ford’s dedicated EV division in China.

“Ford Model e will be Ford’s centre of innovation and growth, a team of the world’s best software, electrical and automotive talent turned loose to create truly incredible electric vehicles and digital experiences for new generations of Ford customers,” explained Ford President & CEO, Jim Farley.

Continuing with iconic models
“Ford Blue’s mission is to deliver a more profitable and vibrant ICE business, strengthen our successful and iconic vehicle families and earn greater loyalty by delivering incredible service and experiences. It’s about harnessing a century of hardware mastery to help build the future. This team will be hellbent on delivering leading quality, attacking waste in every corner of the business, maximizing cashflow and optimizing our industrial footprint,” he said, adding that the company will continue to invest in combustion engines.

Ford’s President stressed that company will continue to invest in internal combustion engines and offer them in some models under the Ford Blue brand.

Ford Model e and Ford Blue will be run as distinct businesses, but also support each other – as well as Ford Pro, which is dedicated to delivering a one-stop shop for commercial and government customers with a range of conventional and electric vehicles and a full suite of software, charging, financing, services and support.

Making ownership experiences better
Back in the ‘dotcom era’ over 20 years ago, Ford was an early promoter of online media for its business. In this decade, Ford Model e also will lead on creating a new shopping, buying and ownership experience for its future EV customers that includes simple, intuitive e-commerce platforms, transparent pricing and personalized customer support from Ford ambassadors. Ford Blue will adapt these best practices to enhance the experience of its ICE customers and deliver new levels of customer connectivity and satisfaction.

The carmaker expects to spend US$5 billion on EVs this year, a two-fold increase over 2021. By 2026, Ford aims to produce more than 2 million EVs annually, which will represent about one-third of the company’s global volume. This is expected to rise to half by 2030, capturing with EVs the same, or even greater, market shares in vehicle segments where Ford already leads.

“This new structure will enhance our capacity to generate industry-leading growth, profitability and liquidity in this new era of transportation,” said John Lawler, Ford’s Chief Financial Officer. “It will sharpen our effectiveness in allocating capital to both the ICE and EV businesses and the returns we expect from them – by making the most of existing capabilities, adding new skills wherever they’re needed, simplifying processes and lowering costs. Most importantly, we believe it will deliver growth and significant value for our stakeholders.”

Ford spends another US$900 million in Thailand to upgrade two factories

Every sector of the auto industry has to meet carbon-neutrality targets during this target and even the brands in the uppermost segments are not exempted although their volumes may be relatively lower. While all will eventually offer models powered only by electricity (battery electric vehicles or BEVs), the transition period will see hybrid powertrains being used for electrification. It is anticipated that more than 20% of sales this year will come from the brand’s hybrid models.

Bentley already started this transition a few years ago with the Bentayga Hybrid and has followed up with the Flying Spur Hybrid. It is continuing with development of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and has announced that 5 new models will be launched this year. As Bentley has only 5 model lines (including the Flying Spur and Bentayga), these new cars HEVs will likely be variants of the models, one of which will be the Continental GT.

The Bentayga Hybrid (above) and Flying Spur Hybrid (below) will be joined by 5 more hybrid models in 2022.

From 2025, the carmaker plans to launch one new BEV every year under its ‘Five-in-Five’ plan that is part of its Beyond100 strategy to reduce the brand’s environmental impact. Innovative steps will be taken to neutralise Bentley’s carbon footprint even further towards its aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. These include a commitment that all its global retailers will be carbon-neutral by 2025 (or sooner), with production zero impact by 2030.

To realise this strategy, Bentley has committed a sustainable investment of £2.5 billion for product development as well as transforming the factory in Crewe, England, to become a ‘Dream Factory’ – a digital, zero environmental impact, flexible and  high-value manufacturing facility.

The Crewe site is already a certified carbon neutral facility, and the next initiatives will be an extension of on-site energy production with solar power. Moreover, Bentley is investigating using sustainable biofuel in fleet cars, including its Heritage Collection.

Beyond100 is the boldest plan in Bentley’s illustrious history, and in the luxury segment. It’s an ambitious and credible roadmap to carbon neutrality of our total business system, including the shift to 100% BEV in just 8 years,” said Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, which is part of the Volkswagen Group. “Our aim is to become the benchmark not just for luxury cars or sustainable credentials but the entire scope of our operations. Securing production of our first BEV in Crewe is a milestone moment for Bentley, and the UK, as we plan for a long-term sustainable future in Crewe.”

Bentley’s sales have continued to climb and the total of 14,659 vehicles delivered in 2021 exceeded by 31% the record volume set the year before. This achievement was driven by new model introductions, a fresh product portfolio and increasing demand for the hybrid models.

While the Americas region took the most vehicles (4,212 units), it was China where Bentley saw the biggest growth of 40% to 4,033 units. The Asia Pacific region posted an increase of 37% which was also said to be a record performance as 1,651 vehicles were delivered, against 1,203 sold in 2020.

Click here for other new and articles about Bentley

Since May this year, a special Toyota Corolla Sport run by the ROOKIE Racing arm of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has been competing in the Super Taikyu Series 2021. Its engine doesn’t run on petrol but uniquely, on hydrogen. This is not the same as the powertrain in the Mirai EV which has its electric motors powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. For the engine in the Corolla Sport, a prototype, the combustion process uses hydrogen.

Combustion in a hydrogen-fuelled engine occurs at a faster rate than in petrol engines, resulting in a characteristic of good responsiveness. While having excellent environmental performance, hydrogen engines still have the typical character of a combustion engine, especially ‘familiar’ sounds and vibrations. Except for the combustion of minute amounts of engine oil during driving, which is also the case with petrol engines, hydrogen engines emit zero CO2 when in use.

Prototype Corolla Sport with hydrogen engine racing in Super Taikyu series in Japan.

Moving to the next steps
As the R&D engineers gain increasing experience and feedback from running the engine in the harsh conditions of motorsport in Japan, they are progressing towards the next steps. This is demonstrated in an experimental hydrogen-powered GR Yaris which shares same powertrain as the prototype Corolla Sport racing car.

Second generation of the Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) which uses hydrogen in a process that generates electricity.

The car’s hydrogen fuel, fuel tanks and refuelling process are the same as those found in Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) which is now in its second generation. The hydrogen combustion engine technology is still in the early stages of conceptual development and experimentation, having started in 2017, and is not yet ready for commercialisation. Nonetheless, Toyota’s experimental hydrogen-powered Corolla Sport is already delivering high performance at motorsport events in Japan with almost zero tailpipe emissions.

Modified GR Yaris engine
The engine modified to run on hydrogen is the G16E-GTS, 1.6-litre, in-line 3-cylinder, turbocharged unit used in production versions of the GR Yaris, but with a modified fuel supply and injection system for use with hydrogen as fuel.

GR Yaris 3-cylinder turbocharged engine (version in production model shown) has been modified to run on hydrogen.

Toyota has been strengthening its efforts towards achieving carbon neutrality, such as by aiming to promote the use of hydrogen through the popularisation of FCEVs and numerous other fuel-cell-powered products. By further refining its hydrogen engine technologies through motorsports, it intends to aim for the realisation of an even better hydrogen-based society.

Motorsport as a testing ground
The uses of motorsport as a testing ground reflects the firm belief of Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motor Corporation, that sporting competition is a driver for progress. In March 1952, he said: “Japan’s auto industry must succeed in building passenger vehicles. To this end, manufacturers must participate in auto-racing to test their vehicles’ durability and performance and display their utmost performance. With competition comes progress, as well as excitement among motoring fans. The aim of racing is not just to satisfy our curiosity, but rather to enable the development of the Japanese passenger vehicle industry.”

“We’ve taken the first step to compete with and develop our hydrogen-powered engine with the mindset of taking on the challenge. I imagine things will look a little different 10 years from now, and I hope people will look back and see how we took on the challenge with positivity and enjoyed every moment of it,” added Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation as well as grandson of Kiichiro.

Transitioning to electric vehicles is one approach Toyota is taking to help create a carbon-neutral society. To achieve this goal, it is developing multiple electrified technologies, including hydrogen, which it views as one of the key building blocks for CO2 reduction.

Second generation fuel cell modules
To help expand its hydrogen technology from cars to more diverse applications, it has repackaged the advanced fuel cell system used in its Mirai saloon into compact fuel cell modules. From January 2022, Toyota will start production of these second generation modules.

The new system has been packaged into modules that are more compact, lighter in weight and provide greater power density. They are available in two formats: a cube and a flat, rectangular shape, allowing greater flexibility and adaptation for different applications.

Toyota began fuel cell development in 1992 and has since continued to refine its hydrogen technology. The second generation fuel cell modules will be assembled by a manufacturing team at Toyota Motor Europe’s (TME) R&D centre in Belgium. The new facility houses a pilot assembly line combining advanced technology content with high-quality assembly techniques.

Toyota chose Europe as the location for its second generation fuel cell module assembly as it sees demand growing significantly across the region. Working with businesses interested in using Toyota’s technology in their applications, TME’s Fuel Cell Business Unit will offer the necessary engineering support for integration. Proximity to its partners and the ability to closely monitor emerging business opportunities will allow the company to scale up supply quickly.

Hydrogen clusters
The expansion of a European hydrogen economy will be a key element in achieving the Green Deal’s objective of net-zero global warming emissions by 2050. The European Union has stated that, to meet this challenge, industry will need ‘climate and resource frontrunners’ to develop the first commercial applications of breakthrough technologies in key industrial sectors by 2030. The emergence of hydrogen clusters in Europe sees different sectors uniting and bringing their skills, technologies and applications together, such as truck, bus and taxi fleets and H2 infrastructure, to create viable business opportunities. This will allow them to flourish and become the nucleus of larger-scale activities.

Toyota to use motorsports to develop hydrogen-fueled engine (w/VIDEO)

Nissan will be stepping up its electrification strategy as it aims to be carbon-neutral across the lifecycle of its products by its fiscal year 2050. With its new long-term vision – Nissan Ambition 2030 – announced today, the carmaker will advance technologies to reduce its carbon footprint and pursue new business opportunities and become a sustainable company.

Having been a strong promoter of electric vehicles (EVs), starting with the LEAF, Nissan will continue to place electrification at the core of the company’s long-term strategy. In this respect, it aims to accelerate the electrification of its vehicle line-up and rate of technology innovation with investments of 2 trillion yen (about RM76.2 billion) over the next 5 years.

23 new electrified models to come
By fiscal 2030, the Nissan range will see 23 new electrified models, including 15 new EVs, to achieve an electrification mix of more than 50% globally across the Nissan and Infiniti brands. Within the next 5 years, 20 new EV and e-POWER equipped models will be launched and with these new models, more than 75% of sales in Europe will be electrified models by 2026. In Japan, the mix is expected to be more than 55% of sales, while in China, it will be more than 40% of sales.

“We are proud of our long track record of innovation, and of our role in delivering the EV revolution. With our new ambition, we continue to take the lead in accelerating the natural shift to EVs by creating customer pull through an attractive proposition by driving excitement, enabling adoption and creating a cleaner world,” said Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta.

Representing the next stage of Nissan’s electrified future, the company today also unveiled three new concept cars that offer enhanced experiences through sophisticated technology packaging. These concept cars are being developed under Nissan EV Technology Vision, a technology study that looks beyond the Ariya and next-generation crossover EV. The technology considers the direction of future EVs, and how advancements in battery technology, hardware and packaging can offer customers a wide variety of mobility solutions to match their needs and lifestyles.

All solid-state battery (ASSB) technology
At the core of Nissan EV Technology Vision is the integration of all solid-state battery (ASSB) technology that integrates with optimized components into a skateboard-like structure that allows for a variety of vehicle types. The optimum hardware structure will bring out the full potential of future complex software configurations and further realize the precision, performance, efficiency and versatility of EV offerings. Recharging time will be reduced to one-third, it is claimed.

CMF-EV platform

ASSB, which offers innovative integration of the body, chassis and battery pack, has ideal geometry with electric drive. Motors are located at the front and rear and together with a very low centre of gravity and ultra light weight, optimal mass distribution can be achieved. To efficiently manage and operate the vehicle precisely, AI (artificial intelligence) will also be integrated and this includes technologies such as Advanced e-4ORCE and Advanced ProPILOT.

Nissan will also continue to advance its lithium-ion battery technologies and introduce cobalt-free technology to bring down the cost by 65% by fiscal year 2028. The proprietary ASSB will be installed in EV models by fiscal year 2028.

In addition to technology upgrades, Nissan will localize manufacturing and sourcing to make EVs more competitive. The carmaker will expand its unique EV Hub concept, EV36Zero, which was launched in the UK, to core markets including Japan, China and the USA. EV36Zero is a fully integrated manufacturing and service ecosystem connecting mobility and energy management with the aim of realizing carbon neutrality.

Preview of future models
For those who worry that electrification will mean the end of sportscars from Nissan, this seems unlikely to happen. Even in the EV age, there will be sportscars although they may have a different sort of feel from today’s musclecars with combustion engines. They will still offer impressive performance, thanks to the high torque characteristics of electric motors.

Nissan Max-Out concept

Nissan Max-Out concept

Nissan Max-Out concept

The Max-Out concept (above) is one idea which Nissan designers are looking at and it is a convertible. Technical details are not available at this time but there is the promise of ‘a new driving experience with superlative stability and comfort’. The low centre of gravity will provide dynamic cornering and steering response with limited body roll and the occupants will feel united with the car. The 2-seater has a unique ability to morph the seating, flattening into the floor for more interior space when needed. This would be ideal when the driver is out on the road alone.

The Max-Out will have Advanced e-4ORCE which offers powerful, smooth and high output, ride comfort, and independent brake control. This electric-drive 4-wheel-control technology integrates Nissan’s electric propulsion and 4WD control technologies with chassis control technology to achieve a huge leap in acceleration, cornering and braking performance on par with the latest sportscars.

Nissan Surf-Out concept

Nissan Surf-Out concept

Nissan Surf-Out concept

The Surf-Out concept (above), as the name suggests, is more of an adventure concept with the bodystyle being that of a compact pick-up. It is all-terrain capable and could have a variety of power outputs to suit different conditions. The low and flat cargo space will make stowing gear convenient, while the vehicle can also supply electric power for other devices or equipment. Like the Max-Out, this concept vehicle is also engineered with Advanced e-4ORCE.

Nissan Hang-Out concept

Nissan Hang-Out concept

Nissan Hang-Out concept

Nissan Hang-Out concept

With the Hang-Out concept (above), the designers are exploring new ideas for interior layouts. This is possible as the floor is completely flat from front to rear. Thus, the cabin can be a mobile living room which travels off the highway. Theatre-style seating will make viewing movies on the built-in display enjoyable for everyone. Special effort is made to suppress vibrations and jolts so that the occupants are less likely to experience motion sickness.

The driver will have the support of Advanced e-4ORCE and Advanced ProPILOT to make journeys safer and more comfortable. ProPILOT technology is already available in some Nissan models as the carmaker was the first to introduce a combination of steering, accelerator and braking that can be operated in full automatic mode. This technology enables autonomous operation during highway driving in single-lane traffic.

Nissan aims to expand ProPILOT technology to over 2.5 million Nissan and Infiniti vehicles by fiscal year 2026. The company will also further develop its autonomous vehicle technologies, aiming to incorporate next generation LIDAR systems on virtually every new model by fiscal year 2030.

Nissan Chill-Out CONCEPT

Nissan Chill-Out CONCEPT

Nissan Chill-Out CONCEPT

Nissan Chill-Out CONCEPT

Besides the three models, a more advanced concept model is the Chill-Out (above), which shows some of the design language that we might see in future Nissan vehicles. It sits on the modular CMF-EV platform of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

Designed specifically for electric vehicles, the CMF-EV platform is exceptional in its modularity. For example, it allows for the installation of batteries of different heights which means it can be used for low sedans as well as SUVs which have more ground clearance. The platform is variable in its length, making it applicable for more different types of vehicles.

Nissan to invest £1 billion in establishing Electric Vehicle (EV) Hub as a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem


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