Motor vehicles interact with the environment throughout their entire lifecycle – from their initial design and the way they are manufactured, to their use on the road and their eventual disposal when no longer needed.
When driving, car engines release emissions into the air, influencing the chemical composition of the atmosphere we breathe and indirectly affecting weather patterns around the globe. The challenge is: How can these emissions be further reduced?
A second environmental impact comes from the fact that vehicles are made out of metals, plastics and other manufactured materials. Can cars be designed so that they can be recycled more easily and comprehensively? And automotive factories use energy and materials to manufacture new vehicles, and produce waste as a by–product. How can factories be designed to respond more efficiently to environmental constraints?
A third environmental impact comes from the use of spare parts in our cars which help maintain and extend the cars lifespan. This applies to both new parts and those which have come to the end of their useful lives. Can we design out packaging or minimise packaging we use, is it possible to reuse or recondition the used parts. How can our distribution and logistical system be optimised and so minimise the impact of our spare parts supply system and its associated packaging?
For Toyota, minimizing these kinds of environmental impact has long been a top priority at every level of the company's organisation and activity. The company's environmental policy forms part of a much wider vision of sustainable development, one of the cornerstones of global economic thinking for the future. And building completely recyclable cars with zero emissions is Toyota's foremost challenge for the years to come.
Both, and more!
Much of the debate surrounding sustainable mobility, or the development of the ultimate eco–car, places a cleaner environment in opposition to economic and industrial growth. The thinking goes: you can only have one or the other, but not both. It is in Toyota's corporate culture to work hard when confronted with these challenges, to try and achieve both and more!