Company’s holistic approach to sustainability reflects the diverse needs of customers across the world
The first-ever United Nations MENA Climate Week was held from 28 to 31 March in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for key stakeholders to take the pulse of climate action in the region, discuss climate challenges, and explore opportunities. One of the companies at the forefront of global efforts on climate action, particularly in achieving carbon neutrality within the mobility sector, is Toyota. Long-recognized as a pioneer in the development of eco-friendly vehicles, Toyota has adopted a multi-faceted approach that emphasizes ‘Sustainable and Practical’ solutions.
Kei Fujita, Chief Representative, Middle East and Central Asia Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation, says: “Carbon neutrality is a goal with many paths. At Toyota, we understand that eco-friendly solutions can contribute to the environment only when their use becomes widespread. There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to today’s climate challenges, which is why we focus on developing and implementing a diverse range of technologies.”
In 1997, Toyota launched the Prius, the world’s first mass-production Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV). Today, the company has sold more than 19 million electrified vehicles worldwide and has invested in the development of a full range of innovative Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs). Toyota’s commitment to pursuing electrification from all directions comes as part of its strategy to respond flexibly to the global demand for diverse mobility solutions.
Fujita explains: “We know the ways our customers use their vehicles vary from one person to another. Drivers also have to contend with diverse road and climate conditions around the world, from rough roads and desert environments to freezing cold climates and everything in-between. Therefore, it is natural that what ‘Sustainable and Practical’ means varies from region to region. If we look at powertrains, for instance, each type comes with its own strengths and weaknesses.”
“To give an example, HEVs are the most practical solution in places with limited charging infrastructure and can achieve around 25 km/L with no special equipment or changes to the existing infrastructure. On the other hand, PHEVs offer a greater driving range in EV mode, but charging infrastructure is needed. When it comes to zero emissions solutions, BEVs are better suited to smaller vehicles and short-distance driving as they require a longer time to fully recharge the battery, while FCEV can be more suitable to larger vehicles that cover longer distances.
As you can see, there is no single best solution that works for all use cases in all parts of the world; this is why we remain committed to developing various solutions to fulfill the needs of different markets,” he adds. Toyota’s sales of electrified vehicles currently represent 16% of total sales in the Middle East. This percentage is increasing year on year, demonstrating a growing public awareness on the benefits electrified vehicles offer in terms of efficiency, performance, and sustainability. The company has the biggest line-up of electrified vehicles in the region, with a total of ten Hybrid Electric models including the Corolla, Camry, C-HR, RAV4, Corolla Cross, and Highlander, together with the Lexus ES, LS, NX, and RX.
According to Fujita: “Customer needs are not uniform throughout the world, and can even differ among regions within individual countries. Toyota will continue to expand its lineup of electrified vehicles on a global basis to meet the needs of each country. Over the three decades since the launch of the Prius, we have accumulated data and steadily refined our technologies to develop a wide range of products.”
In December 2021, Toyota announced its strategy for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). The company plans to launch 30 models in the passenger and commercial segments by 2030, and aims to achieve 3.5 million annual global vehicle sales before the end of the decade.
With the launch of its ‘Environmental Challenge 2050’ roadmap in October 2015, Toyota outlined its commitment to reducing the environmental impacts of manufacturing and driving vehicles across the globe, with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality throughout its operations. The company has set a series of ambitious targets inspired by key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), placing its current and future strategy firmly in alignment with the MENA Climate Week event taking place this month in Dubai.
Fujita concludes: “Our adoption of ‘Sustainable and Practical’ solutions for diverse circumstances around the world is exactly what the phrase ‘think globally, act locally’ means to me. I sincerely believe this is the most effective way to reduce the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere in the quickest time possible, a goal that is imperative if we are to safeguard our planet for future generations. With this in mind, we remain committed to pursuing various technology options including HEV, PHEV, BEV, and FCEV as we continue on our journey towards ‘Creating Mobility For All’ and ‘Producing Happiness for All.’”