Most manufacturers are rushing to electrify their lineups before the estimated government-imposed dates for electrification arrive. However, Toyota which is one of the largest automakers in the world seems to be in no rush. The company has only released one fully electric model until now and hasn’t provided much information on its electric future. Nevertheless, we argue that this isn't necessarily a negative stance. Toyota is known for innovation and engineers and CEOs within the company believe that electrification isn’t the answer to our environmental problems. This has led to a lot of research for alternative technologies that can drastically reduce emissions. Here's why Toyota’s strategy is a good one while also going through the technologies they are paling on implementing.
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As we have briefly mentioned in the beginning, Toyota has only made one fully electric vehicle so far and that is the BZ4X. Most of their electrification efforts involve adding hybrid systems to all of their models. Toyota as a company is a huge believer in alternative technologies and one of them is hybrid powertrains. This is obvious as even pickup trucks like the Tundra and the Tacoma are now hybrid. However, the automotive giant won’t stop at hybrid systems. Huge research efforts are being made as Toyota is trying to make normal internal combustion engines run on hydrogen while also utilizing hydrogen to power battery electric vehicles.
With a few modifications mainly to the fuel tank and fuel injection system, normal internal combustion engines can run efficiently on hydrogen. Doing so only emits water vapor from the exhaust. So, as you can imagine, if this technology ever works it will be a game changer in the automotive market. In the case of electric vehicles, hydrogen is used to power electric motors through several chemical reactions. This eliminates the need to wait for your EV to charge. If Toyota successfully implements this technology both internal combustion and electric vehicles will be able to refuel from the same stations. Achieving this is far less complex than adding electric chargers all around the world.
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Toyota doesn’t believe that electric vehicles are the only answer to our emissions problems for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the creation and transportation of electric batteries is incredibly polluting to the environment. Batteries are being produced in the eastern parts of the world through the mining of precious metals and then transported to countries all around the globe to be put in vehicles. Then we have the problem of adding charging stations all around the globe and the fact that battery technology isn’t all that advanced yet. Charging a vehicle still takes a long time, the range isn’t that impressive and the battery units themselves are incredibly heavy. Worth noting is that Toyota doesn’t completely rule out battery electric vehicles. It is believed that EVs are one of the solutions but not the solution. This is the reason why the company is researching alternative technologies.
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Toyota’s first and most famous alternative to EVs is the Mirai. The Mirai is a large sedan that uses hydrogen to power its electric motors. The concept works and even James May owns one. However, the problem here is the scarce hydrogen fuel stations. The second vehicle Toyota has created is a test mule in the form of a Yaris GR. This Yaris uses its traditional internal combustion engine but instead of gas, it uses hydrogen. The only difference between this and a normal Yaris GR is the fuel delivery system. Even when driving, the car’s engines make the same noise and produce very similar power figures. This could be the answer to the big problem of driver’s cars as EVs are nowhere near as exciting to drive as cars with internal combustion engines. They might be just as fast or even faster, but this doesn’t mean they are more fun.
Related: Why Hydrogen Cars Are Better Than Electric Cars
Electric vehicles have plenty of benefits. However, it is always good to have more than one option. So far, we have been told that the future only holds electric cars, but companies and governments are slowly realizing that this isn’t the case and we can thank Toyota for this. You see, in Europe, cars using alternative fuels will be able to be sold normally after 2030 which gives companies the green light to develop further technologies. Technologies such as hydrogen might be the answer to big problems like lorries and even big ships which are currently impossible to electrify due to the distances they need to cover and the weights they are required to pull. So, Toyota isn’t being stubborn. Toyota is trying to make the world a better place by refusing to follow the norm. The company is willing to put the time and effort needed into alternative technologies that will make our lives easier while also having the potential of saving traditional motorsport and sports cars.
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As is the case with everything, there are some hurdles in implementing hydrogen as a fuel source. The most significant problem is storing the hydrogen which needs to live in a tank at very high pressures. This means that the tank needs to be extremely strong. Also, the tank needs to be much larger than a normal fuel tank as engines and motors require a lot of it to work. A small tank would simply lead to a low range. As you can imagine, this also is a problem for fuel stations as they will need special tanks to store the fuel they sell. That being said, we believe that it is far easier to find a way to equip vehicles and fuel stations with larger and stronger tanks than trying to install chargers and batteries. Toyota’s alternative technology has a lot of potential, and we believe that the automotive giant has the power to make it work. If it does work, it will be a game changer2023-05-25T20:04:55Z dg43tfdfdgfd