Thursday, June 12, 2008

Toyota's Green Plan: Li-ion Battery Production to Begin in 2009

Toyota Motor Corp announced its action plan for contributing to a low carbon society at the "Toyota Environmental Forum," which took place June 11, 2008. The plan proposes initiatives in the areas of "research and development," "manufacturing" and "social contribution."

In the research and development area, Toyota announced efforts aimed at reducing oil consumption and promoting the adaptation of vehicles to energy diversification. Toward the commercialization and mass-production of plug-in hybrids and small electric vehicles, Panasonic EV Energy Co Ltd will start production of Li-ion secondary batteries at a small volume in 2009 and volume production in earnest in 2010.

Moreover, Toyota will set up a "battery research department" in late June 2008 in an effort to research and develop a next-generation battery that can outperform a Li-ion secondary battery.

In the powertrain segment, average fuel efficiency for new Toyota vehicles sold in Japan rose by approximately 28% in the 10 years from 1997 to 2007, Toyota said. By the end of 2010, Toyota will complete the transition to a new series of highly efficient engines and transmissions.

As for gasoline engines, Toyota will introduce new 1.3 and 2.5-liter engines in 2008. The 1.3-liter engine employs the newly developed "Stop & Start System," an idling stop function. Toyota will complete revamping its engine lineup with the introduction of these two new engines.

As for transmissions, Toyota will introduce a highly efficient compact six-speed manual transmission in the fall of 2008, while advancing multi-stage automatic transmissions and CVTs.

In the field of alternative fuels, Toyota is currently conducting joint research with Nippon Oil Corp on bio-hydrofined diesel with improved oxidative stability and performance equivalent to that of conventional diesel, while advancing research on a biofuel (cellulosic ethanol) that can both avert competition with the food supply and ensure a stable supply.

Furthermore, Toyota is researching a bio liquefied fuel, which is derived from synthesizing gas made from all types of biomass including cellulose as well.

In the manufacturing area, Toyota is currently reducing CO2 emissions from its production activities, based on its "Fourth Toyota Environmental Action Plan" for fiscal 2006 to 2010. The company has, however, set new targets and strengthened its approach as it has already achieved its original 2010 targets.

Saeko Kushitani, Nikkei Automotive Technology

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