Climate change and carbon emissions top agenda at this year’s event.
Toyota Canada’s annual corporate dinner took place this year in February, just days before the official opening of the 2020 Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS).
Toyota Canada President and CEO, Larry Hutchinson, spoke at length about climate change, carbon emissions, and the role both government and the auto industry will have to play in order to find a solution to the challenges facing our planet.
Hybrids vs. BEVs
Hutchinson explained that although the battery electric vehicle (BEV) has been hogging the electrification spotlight, BEVs are not the solution… at least not yet.
Due to the costs incurred by manufacturers to bring viable BEVs to market, as well as the premium consumers need to pay in order to purchase a BEV, we simply can’t get enough of them onto public roads to make a difference now.
“If overall carbon reduction is our true goal – and we think it should be – public policy needs to embrace, not discourage, potentially larger, lower-cost solutions using already available and in-demand technology,” Hutchinson added.
In other words, a more viable immediate solution is the hybrid or the plug-in hybrid. “They’re more economical with no compromises,” Hutchinson explained.
Do the math
Hutchinson compared hybrids with BEVs using a simple math equation. The average battery capacity in a BEV is about sixty-kilowatt hours, he explained, and that number is growing as companies increase vehicle size and range.
He then compared that with the average battery capacity in a Toyota hybrid, which is 1.4 kilowatt-hours. “Let me put this in practical terms,” he added.
“You could build 42 Priuses in place of the 60 kWh battery in one BEV. And 42 Priuses—reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 30% each—have the impact of twelve ZEVs. So, for the same resources—same battery cells—do you want the GHG reduction of one car or twelve?”
By 2025, Toyota will have electrified options for all their vehicles. If by the year 2030 Toyota is able to sell 300,000 hybrids, Hutchinson said, they will have reduced emissions by the equivalent of 90,000 ZEVs.
“My point is, if Canada truly wants to achieve meaningful carbon emission reductions from this sector by 2030, a single-minded focus on zero-emission vehicles is likely to cause us to miss that objective,” he concluded.
“It’s too expensive, too consuming of finite resources and it entirely misses the point that carbon emissions are the result of the total number of carbon-powered kilometres traveled by the entire on-road fleet each year.”
Toyota believes that the best approach is to continue to focus on regulatory strategies that aim to produce overall carbon reductions.
“Done properly,” Hutchinson added, “policies that aim to achieve year-over-year improvements in carbon emissions from the entire new car fleet will yield much bigger results than the ZEV mandates and incentives currently being pursued.”
Hutchinson concluded with a message for lawmakers. “In short, our message to government is: Set the goalposts, but don’t call the play—because we, as automakers, know best how to drive down costs, and get competitive vehicles into the market.”