Words by Syed Umair
A few days before the official commencement of Tokyo Motor Show 2017, Toyota Motor Corporation made some key announcements on the Press Day. This was also the first time that a non-Japanese Executive Vice-President, Didier Leroy, from TMC addressed the media in Tokyo. Leroy offered an insight into the way forward for Toyota globally with a highlight on hybrid cars, electric vehicles, and fuel cell cars.
To start with he outlined the theme “Start Your Impossible”, which resonates in TMC’s policies globally sets an aim to provide mobility for all. Leroy moved ahead to talk about pushing boundaries and overcoming challenges to offer better services before he unveiled TMC’s new fuel cell concept cars belonging to the the ‘i-series’. The i-series boasts of new technologies that will be used by TMC. The artificial intelligence technology and the concept of connected cars thus became the cornerstone of Leroy’s address.
“Concept-i right here is not just a design exercise, nor is it just a car. It’s a beautiful object that becomes your partner thanks to AI and connected technologies. It captures your state of mind and keeps you engaged reducing the risk of accidents. It understands what you like, what you want to do, and establishes a new relationship with you. Concept-i comes with i-Walk which allows you to continue your journey where cars are not allowed to go. And i-Ride which represents barrier-free access to personal mobility” stated Leroy.
In line with its promise of adoption of new technologies and greater investments in R&D TMC also announced the coming of next generation Crown. The 15th generation Crown, set to be out in Japan in early 2018, shall incorporate Toyota’s New Global Architecture. It will set a new norm for connected vehicles as TMC is focusing on data communication and connected cars in a big way in the future.
Further in the press conference, Leroy spelt out how electric vehicles will be one of the key solutions in the near future apart from the hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Toyota as of today sells 37 electrified cars with around 1.5 million units sold annually i.e. 43 per cent of the total market share of electrified vehicles. “We have sold more than 11 million electrified cars in the past 20 years, thus we have developed and improved on many electrified components, including motors, invertors, electric control software, and batteries” mentioned Leroy who sees EV’s as the next step. He suggested keeping all possibilities open on the organization’s way ahead. Talking of hydrogen to be used as fuel, EVs, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, traditional combustible engines, diesel engines et al. Overall these announcements from Toyota Motor Corporation hint at a bigger role of hybrids and plug-in hybrids in India in the time to come. However, it shall be interesting to see how Toyota pushes its boundaries and plies the vehicles on our roads, sans zero infrastructure.