What is Toyota’s approach to the technology for zero and low emissions vehicles?
Toyota takes a technology-neutral approach to these matters. The company believes the best way to lower CO2 emissions is to offer customers zero and low emissions vehicles that work for them, whether that is in terms of budget, lifestyle or core use. The mass adoption of low and zero CO2 technologies is essential to lowering CO2, so we do not rank those technologies, but provide all of them – hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), battery electric (BEV) and fuel cell electric (FCEV) – based on unmatched experience of 25 years of making electrified vehicles.
What that means is we wouldn’t assess the benefits of H2 fuelled electric vehicles over those which need plugging in – both have their place, we believe.
What are the advantages to fuel cell vehicles for the commercial vehicle sector?
Fuel cells have some very clear positives that we think will increasingly play a part in the mix as we all move to a zero, and beyond zero, emissions future.
The first is about fuelling. It takes as long to fill up a FCEV as it does to fill an internal combustion engine vehicle with petrol. There is no need for charging. Clearly there are a number of advantages to this, particularly in the commercial vehicle sector, or with professional organisations like the police. But this is clearly also a very useful factor for people driving higher mileages rather than just short urban journeys. So there is a convenience factor, a time factor and in the case of commercial users a major cost saving factor in vehicles not being off the road whilst charging – and of course being able to make much longer journeys.
Is it possible to utilise or extend existing hydrogen infrastructure?
We see major investment now in H2 production facilities across Europe, backed by numerous governments, the UK and Germany most recently. In many cases, H2 production has been added to an existing electricity generation station which sometimes couldn’t store all the electricity it made, preventing it from being wasted. On a larger industrial scale, we see H2 production as part of a wider ‘hydrogen society’, contributing to powering not just vehicles but other systems that presently draw from the grid.
Is there enough being done to develop hydrogen fuelling stations in the UK?
We are part of the UK Hydrogen Council, with major companies, government, and non-governmental organisations, a body which works collaboratively towards improving H2 infrastructure here. We have been really pleased to hear government recognising H2 has a part to play in achieving its ambitious Road to Zero ambitions and we look forward to working further with them and our partners on this. There is certainly a long way to go in terms of H2 infrastructure – as there is of course with the BEV charging network – but this is a time of unprecedented change. Of course, it’s going to take time for all these things to scale up.
James Clark, Senior Manager, Press Relations, Toyota