vishal panwar June 5, 2021

NEW DELHI: Toyota’s electrified vehicle strategy centres on the xEV portfolio of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) to suit the needs of each market and consumer choices. On the occasion of World Environment Day, Vikram Gulati, country head and senior VP, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, talks to TOI Auto about the need for electrification and the role of hybrid engines. Excepts from the interview:

Why hybrid vehicles make sense with the skyrocketing prices of petrol?
Hybrid Electrified Vehicles (HEVs), which have both a petrol engine and an electric powertrain, are extremely environment friendly. As per a study by iCAT, a Government testing agency, HEVs can run 40% of the distance and 60% of the time as an electric vehicle with a petrol engine shut off. This gives HEVs tremendous fuel efficiency improvements (35-50%) and much lower carbon emissions.
Further as per independent studies on a well to wheel basis, i.e. fully considering the impact of energy generation and its end use, in the case of India carbon emissions for HEVs are even lower than BEVs. Hence HEV will play a critical role not only in reducing fossil fuel consumption, carbon emissions and pollution but also in creating local EV parts manufacturing eco-system while simultaneously protecting the huge existing investments and jobs related to ICE parts manufacturing thus ensuring a faster and disruption-free technology transition.
How will electrification help India?
Electrification— is not only the most viable solution to growing levels of vehicle pollution but it is the simplest measure to support national goals including reducing imports, fossil fuel consumption, carbon emissions, pollution, enhancing local manufacturing and creating jobs. Both Central and State Governments have been making tremendous efforts to encourage electric mobility in the country through various interventions which include FAME 2 Scheme, lower GST as well several incentives in various State Govt.

06:192019 Toyota Camry: First drive

2019 Toyota Camry: First drive

Why are hybrids not a runaway success in India?
There are two biggest challenges – one affordability due to low volumes and the other is lack of consumer awareness on benefits of electrified vehicles (xEVs). For mass electrification, it is essential to have local EV parts manufacturing eco-system at a large scale that is globally competitive in terms of price and quality. In view of common EV parts in BEVs and HEVs, world over policy interventions have supported all xEV technologies to create a vibrant local manufacturing base. As with many other countries a carbon emission-based taxation (GST) structure will help bring down the prices of all xEVs substantially and will enable wider consumer acceptance, which in turn can catalyse the creation of a vibrant & self-reliant EV manufacturing eco-system in the country.
Toyota Camry Hybrid has been one of the very few hybrid cars in our market. Has the response been encouraging?
Toyota considers electric motors, batteries, and PCUs (power control units) to be the three core technologies of electrified vehicles.
Combining specific major components with these core technologies enables the creation of various electrified vehicles―fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs), and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).
Since 1997 Toyota has led the development and sale of environment-friendly automobiles globally. Today, Toyota is the world’s largest xEV manufacturer with 16 million units of electrified vehicles sold globally until August 2020, resulting in more than 125 million tons of CO2 emission reduction and more than 47 million kilolitres of savings in gasoline.
In India, TKM was the first company to bring hybrid models to the market with the likes of the Prius, the Camry Hybrid. Since the time we introduced HEVs in India, we have sold over 5,400 units of which more than 4,900 units were Camry Hybrid vehicles. The HEVs sold in India have resulted in 14.1 million kilograms in CO2 emission reduction and fossil fuel savings of 5.9 million litres thus far.
Toyota is a global pioneer in hybrids. Why isn’t it taking steps to increase its hybrid portfolio in India?
As is the case for the market introduction of any advanced technology, our introduction of HEVs has initially been in the high-end segment where we have received very good customer acceptance. We feel this will also be the case for hybrids in the mass segments. Our aspiration is to contribute towards mass electrification with ‘make in India’ not only for India but also for global markets.
Toyota firmly believes that varied electrified vehicle technology are necessary to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Toyota’s electrified vehicle strategy centres on xEV portfolio of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) to suit the needs of each market and consumer choices. We are committed to providing the best products & services that meet the evolving market requirements and continuously contribute to achieving the national objectives.
Camry and Vellfire are two premium yet valuable products for Toyota. Why do you think these cars can be better alternatives to European rivals?
The two products, Camry Hybrid and Vellfire encapsulate Toyota’s class defining technology, comfort, elegance, and sustainability and were brought to India primarily for introducing the market to HEV technology and sustainable luxury. Globally, our product portfolio in each market depends on the local infrastructure, customer demand, policy environment among other factors. We feel it is not fair to compare products, be it from our portfolio or the larger market, considering the unique needs of each country.
(TOI AUTO Green Talk celebrates the green weekend between June 3 and 5, 2021, bringing to you a cluster of news reports, explainers and interviews on sustainable mobility. Key an eye on the space for more …)

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