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Why hybrids are leading the car industry in CO2 reduction

We all know, the world's concentration of CO2 has been increasing since the Industrial Revolution. There is no time to lose when it comes to reducing CO2 now.

In the case of the automotive industry, promoting vehicle electrification is one of the most effective ways we can reach carbon neutrality.

For example, the CO2 reduction of three Hybrids is almost equal to that of one battery electric vehicle.

Self-charging Hybrids are available now at a comparatively affordable price to conventional cars, in countries like Ireland where the use of renewable energy is not yet abundant and where the charging infrastructure is limited, electrification using hybrids is among the most effective ways of reducing CO2 emissions.

Toyota is preparing a full line up of electrified vehicles. We want to provide sustainable and practical products that reduce CO2 emissions and give the customer the options that suits them the best.

Self-charging hybrids play a crucial role in overall CO2 reduction. Since the introduction of the first-generation Prius in 1997, Toyota has also introduced plug-in Hybrids like the class leading RAV4 PHEV, Fuel cell electric vehicles such as the revolutionary Mirai and the upcoming battery electric vehicle the BZ4X.

To date we have reached worldwide sales of 18.1 million hybrid electric vehicles, as mentioned previously the CO2 reduction effect of 3 hybrids has the same CO2 reduction effect as 1 battery electric vehicle, and the 18.1 million HEVs sold have delivered CO2 benefits of 5.5 million battery electric vehicles.

The volume of batteries for HEVs that we have produced so far is the same as that of the batteries installed on about 260,000 BEVs. In other words, we can say that the batteries needed for 260,000 BEVs have been used to achieve the CO2 emissions reduction effect of 5.5 million BEVs. And of course, we know the resources and cells required to produce 5.5 million battery electric vehicles would be mostly impossible for a single brand.

And while the BEVs themselves are green, the electricity we use to charge them may not be. Ireland’s grid is still too reliant on fossil fuels.

For example, only 36.5% (SEAI figures 2019) of our electricity in Ireland comes from renewable energy. The goal is 70% by 2030. We need to achieve this before the mass roll out of BEV’s as failure to do so will result in a negative impact on the environment as the increased energy required to charge will only come from fossil fuels. That isn’t built for a better world. By democratising electrified motoring through hybrid, we’re giving more people an easier alternative to diesel and petrol, so they can start making a real difference to our air quality today and CO2 reduction.

To adapt to the future sustainably and practically, Toyota’s 2030 global battery strategy will be supported by a €11.6 billion investment. The future of fully electric vehicles lies with the development of solid-state batteries. And that’s where our focus is long term. They will be lighter, safer, longer lasting and ultimately cheaper than the existing batteries used in BEVs today. They’ll recharge faster and the target is to retain 90% of original performance for up to 30 years.

Toyota already has over 1,000 patents in solid state technology – more than any other car brand - and we’re on track for commercial production in 2025.

In the meantime, we will be launching the Toyota Bz series which is a new sub brand of Toyota battery electric vehicles. Built on over 20 years' electrification expertise, the Toyota bZ4X offers the first glimpse into the future of our new Battery-Electric family, coming mid-2022 with the release of two more Battery electric vehicles by 2024.

Today, governments are pushing electrification because conventional cars produce too much NOx and CO2. And they don’t want us to wait until 2030, they want us to change the way we drive today. Right now, the vast majority could easily switch from diesel to self-charging hybrid. The same can’t currently be said for BEV at this moment in time.

Battery Electric Vehicles are wonderful ways to reduce carbon for some customers, however even if the best option for the average person becomes a BEV, it will not be the best option for every person to contribute to reducing carbon emissions. For example, for a driver who commutes mostly through an area where there are fewer high speed battery charging stations or none at all, a HEV or PHEV makes more sense in terms of contributing to carbon emissions reduction.

Carbon is the problem, not a particular drivetrain. With ‘think global, act locally’ in mind and given the world’s limited battery supply, we need to capitalize on hybrid vehicles to reduce carbon emissions today and not just in the future. Therefore, we believe that hybrid is the right strategy for now, in moving people in volume out of diesel and into electrification.

So, we strongly believe that the time is not yet right for mass adoption of BEVs. But when the time comes, you can rest assured Toyota will be at the forefront of battery electric technology, just like we are with hybrid as our current self-charging hybrids can drive in EV mode up to 85% of the time. For example, Toyota’s upcoming bZ4X is aiming to retain 90% battery capacity after 10 years, which is one of the highest in the world and goes on sale in May 2022.

That’s why you’ll never take a wrong turn with Toyota.