What is Beyond Zero? Toyota’s bZ strategy explained

The Toyota bZ4X Concept is the first model to feature Toyota’s new bZ – beyond Zero – naming convention. By 2025, Toyota aims to introduce 15 battery electric vehicles (BEVs), including seven Toyota bZ models.

This new series of BEVs will allow people to change from their current vehicle with no inconvenience, while realising all the benefits a fully electric car can offer. This is achieved through human-focused development and by providing mobility tailored to people’s real lives and experiences.

Chief engineer Koji Toyoshima explains: “This is not just about contributing to the environment by being a zero-emission vehicle but giving value ‘beyond Zero’ emissions by making driving easier and more fun.”

Toyota bZ models will also help achieve the goal of carbon neutrality. This refers to approaches and initiatives aimed at neutralising CO2 emissions from the entire vehicle lifecycle, including manufacturing, distribution, use, recycling and final disposal. Toyota defines beyond Zero as the following four aspects:

  • You and the Environment: considering not just the energy the car uses to move but also how it can make use of regenerative or renewable energy, such as solar power
  • You and Your Car: by which a BEV designed on a dedicated platform makes use of the latest technological features and provides excellent connectivity to provide safety, peace of mind, and an enjoyable driving experience
  • You and Others: guides the creation of BEVs that have the space and quiet environment that inspires people to interact and share experiences
  • You and Society: considers the wider impact on society and making the world a better place for everyone to live

Building on Toyota’s electrification leadership

The new Toyota bZ4X is the latest milestone in Toyota’s journey to achieve zero emissions that began more than 20 years ago with the launch of the original Prius, the world’s first mass-production hybrid electric car.

Since that time, Toyota has consistently pushed the boundaries of vehicle electrification, achieving ever greater efficiency from its hybrid technology and realising new opportunities with the development of plug-in hybrid electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

To date (April 2021) Toyota has sold more than 17 million electrified vehicles, saving around 140 million tonnes of CO2. Between 2010 and 2019, electrified technology has helped Toyota reduce its overall global vehicle CO2 emissions by approximately 22%.

Toyota bZ also signals how Toyota is looking beyond zero emissions when it comes to future mobility. With its focus on delivering ever-better mobility for all, beyond Zero also encompasses Toyota’s desire to create products and services that enhance the pleasure of driving, elevate the connected experience, keep all road users safe and protected and ultimately create better societies around the world.

To accomplish this, Toyota has pursued a wide choice of electrified technologies, to suit the demands of different markets and types of vehicle use: 1) Hybrid electric, 2) Plug-in hybrid electric, 3) Battery electric, and 4) Hydrogen fuel cell. Developing hydrogen as a plentiful source of clean energy creates further dimensions, with the fuel cell technology pioneered in the Toyota Mirai adaptable to many different applications. These already include powering heavy goods vehicles, buses and trains, and for use in generators that could even be used to electrify a city.

Electrified vehicle portfolio expansion

By 2025, Toyota will offer more than 70 electrified vehicles in its global portfolio, including at least 15 battery electric vehicles.

In Europe, this should translate into a powertrain mix that is more than 70% hybrid by 2025; more than 10% plug-in hybrids and more than 10% zero-emission models – both BEV and FCEV.

Sustainable Development Goals

On the premise that everyone lives on the same planet, Toyota takes action from a global rather than a home country perspective that has for so long been the mind set within the automotive industry. Each generation is responsible for bequeathing the planet to the next as a place where people can live with peace of mind. This informs Toyota’s human-centred philosophy that technology should contribute positively to people’s health and happiness.

Using the strength it has cultivated through monozukuri (creating or manufacturing) and by incorporating further technological innovations that expand the possibilities of mobility, Toyota seeks to provide services that make the freedom of mobility available to all.

Toyota also aims to contribute through its businesses to realising Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among the 17 SDGs set out by the United Nations, reducing CO2 emissions is a global issue; to achieve this, it is vital electrification is implemented on a global scale.

Today, countries around the world are declaring their timelines towards achieving carbon neutrality. In Europe, for example, the European Union is targeting carbon neutrality by 2050.

Integrated activities are required to realise carbon neutrality in the automotive industry; those relating to energy policies promoting renewable energy and recharging infrastructure, and industrial policies, such as subsidies, support for suppliers and battery recycling systems. The industry also needs to work with different stakeholders, such as governments and business organisations.

As Toyota expands its business globally, it will develop its electrification strategy for reducing lifecycle CO2 emissions through consultations with national governments.

Toyota will also strive to provide full disclosure of information so that we can seek more understanding from our stakeholders, such as conducting review and information disclosure by the end of the year, to ensure that liaison activities meet the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

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