BMW April 2022

The Toyota State of the Motor Industry (TSOMI) is almost an institution at the beginning of each year now as it’s in its sixth year. It’s also probably listened to by more interested people as some truth and guidance as to what is happening in the total motor industry than anything you can trust being communicated by government.

This year Dr Gill Prat, Chief Scientist for Toyota Motor Corporation in California joined the chat. His presentation was a welcome note to hear from a manufacturer. He said that they look at each market on their own when it comes to electric vehicles. As such they have adopted a diverse approach when it comes to designing future vehicle models. 

Their four sections are: Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV); Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV); Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) and Hydrogen Fuel Cell.

Toyota as a company is looking at the carbon return or investment (CROIL) for customers. They’re addressing the issue of cost of batteries and are hoping to drop this by 30% by 2030 and are looking to increase the battery life to 9-10 years. They’re always looking to improve on kilometres achieved per charge and to reduce the size of the battery as well. 

Automotive Refinisher posed the question of what happens to the batteries at the end of life? It has been seen that this problem hasn’t been addressed with many manufacturers and fleets of vehicles have been left discarded in Europe with their batteries leeching into the ground. This in our view isn’t environmentally friendly at all! In fact, it leaves the earth in an even more polluted state. 

Toyota are still addressing this solution as the cost to get rid of the battery is still very high. That is why they’re looking at improving the longevity of their batteries. Units may also be sold to households to help with the storage of renewable energy too. There’s a definite gap in the market for this end-of-life process, for sure.

Back in South Africa, Toyota are also looking to increase the local component content of their vehicles. Despite tough shipping delays and the severity of the microchip shortage, they have a target of 540 000 units to produce their year. This figure is higher than 2019 – but as Andrew Kirby, President and CEO of TSAM said, that year was already a suppressed market. That said, on the back of the last two years, it’s a great number to post and to look forward to achieving.