Life left in petrol en­gines

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - MO­TOR­ING

Toy­ota has given the com­bus­tion en­gine a stay of ex­e­cu­tion beyond the mid­dle of the cen­tury.

Speak­ing to me­dia dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion af­ter the 2017 Tokyo mo­tor show, the Ja­panese car maker’s head of re­search and de­vel­op­ment, Kiy­otake Ise, out­lined the com­pany’s fu­ture pow­er­train plans, say­ing Toy­ota will hedge its bets across a wide va­ri­ety of al­ter­na­tive fuel so­lu­tions in­clud­ing reg­u­lar hy­brids, plug-in hy­brids, fuel cell ve­hi­cles and fully-elec­tric cars.

How­ever, in spite of ma­jor coun­tries like the UK, France, In­dia and China set­ting tar­gets to ban the sale of cars with com­bus­tion en­gines be­tween 2030 and 2040 and plenty of an­a­lysts pre­dict­ing the death of petrol en­gines within the next decade, Ise pro­jected the ma­jor­ity of ve­hi­cles sold by Toy­ota, one of the world’s largest car mak­ers, in 2050 will still have a petrol-pow­ered en­gine, al­beit with some form of elec­tric as­sis­tance.

‘‘By 2040, the sim­ple gaso­line en­gines or diesel en­gines are re­duced to zero,’’ he said.

‘‘They may be still used in hy­brids or plug-in hy­brid ve­hi­cles. So gaso­line and diesel en­gines will only be used in those type of ve­hi­cles.’’

With­out out­lin­ing any de­tailed prod­uct plans, Ise in­di­cated that Toy­ota will dras­ti­cally in­crease its range of hy­brid of­fer­ings in the next decade, while also build­ing a larger pres­ence of plug-ins beyond the Prius Prime and ex­pand the avail­abil­ity of hy­dro­gen-pow­ered fuel cell ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing the po­ten­tial to sell the Mi­rai sedan in the fu­ture.

Pre­sented in a slide as part of Ise’s pre­sen­ta­tion, Toy­ota pre­dicts the ma­jor­ity of its cars in 2050 will be ei­ther con­ven­tional hy­brid or plug-in hy­brids - there­fore util­is­ing a com­bus­tion en­gine as part of its pow­er­train - with full elec­tric and fuel cell ve­hi­cles mak­ing up less than half of its pro­jected vol­ume.

He qual­i­fied that by say­ing ‘‘I don’t think it will be just one thing and I don’t think every pow­er­train strat­egy will work for every mar­ket.

‘‘The cus­tomer and the mar­ket will choose. And that’s why we are de­vel­op­ing a wide range of pow­er­train so­lu­tions.’’

Closer to now, Toy­ota Aus­tralia’s incoming Vice Pres­i­dent of Sales and Op­er­a­tions, Sean Han­ley, told Aus­tralian me­dia at the tokyo show the lo­cal op­er­a­tion plans to in­tro­duce three new hy­brid mod­els within the next few years, tak­ing its to­tal petrol-elec­tric range to eight ve­hi­cles by 2020.

While Han­ley was re­luc­tant to di­vulge any de­tails of the new en­trants, it is ex­pected to be a trio of hy­brid SUVs that in­clude the C-HR, RAV4 and Kluger - all of which are cur­rently of­fered with hy­brid pow­er­trains in over­seas mar­kets.

‘‘Every car in every seg­ment has to play a role,’’ Han­ley said.

‘‘We have to con­tin­u­ally im­prove our hy­brid mix over the next five to seven years. We need to take that up sig­nif­i­cantly in the fu­ture. And we want to in­crease that re­gard­less of [sales]

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