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Toyota Optimal Drive

2009-09-16 09:24

As the world’s leading manufacturer of vehicles Toyota is committed to the philosophy of sustainable mobility – keeping the planet moving in an efficient and pleasurable manner whilst minimising the impact of vehicles on our society. Toyota believes that it has a leadership role to play in responding to challenges to the environment.

It is estimated that by 2020 the global vehicle population will reach 1,5 billion vehicles, almost double the number currently in use, with growth in emerging markets overshadowing that forecast in mature markets. This level of growth has major implications for Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Toyota believes that environmental sustainability is the single biggest challenge facing the automotive industry, and our society, in the 21st century.  A response to this challenge affects not only the company’s products, but every aspect of its business, and every person in the company.

Toyota’s goal is to achieve zero emissions with zero waste across every aspect of the company’s business. The company believes that, given the time and skills, and through the process of Kaizen (continuous improvement), this will be possible.

To this end Toyota invests a substantial amount in the ongoing research and development of alternative energy power sources for motor vehicles. The most visible example of a translation of this research into real world practical applications is Toyota’s leadership in the production and sale of petrol/electric hybrid vehicles. Going in to 2009 Toyota had sold a total of 1,75 million hybrid vehicles. The Prius, the global hybrid vehicle trend-setter, accounted for 1,22 million of those sales.

While Toyota Motor Corporation devotes huge resources to advanced R&D projects, it continues a parallel investment in research and development programmes to refine existing internal combustion engine technologies to improve the fuel efficiency, emissions, and driving performance of these engines.

At the Paris Motor Show in October 2008 Toyota announced a range of new internal combustion engine technologies, both petrol and diesel, under the banner of Toyota Optimal Drive. The vision of Toyota Optimal Drive, the new core technology for Toyota’s internal combustion engines, is to:

• Reduce harmful emissions
• Increase fuel combustion efficiency
• Not compromise a pleasurable driving experience
• Be a standard feature on all new products, not an on-cost option.

Based on Toyota’s “Kaizen” philosophy of constant improvement, the company’s engineers have developed new technologies that provide for improved combustion efficiency, reduced internal friction, and weight reductions for engines and transmissions. The overall result is engines that produce more power than the units they replace, but at the same time are more fuel efficient and have lower emissions.

The first example of Toyota’s Optimal Drive technology to reach South Africa was the 1.3 litre petrol engine that replaced the 1,4 litre engine in the Corolla range in March 2009. That engine offered a power increase of 4% over the engine it replaced with a 12% improvement in fuel economy and a reduction in emissions of 13%.

The introduction of the new Verso sees an expansion in Optimal Drive technology with two new petrol engines and two new diesel engines offered as the engine options on this popular MPV.

The 1,6 litre and 1,8 litre petrol engines both feature Toyota’s Valvematic technology, a further development of Toyota’s Variable Valve Timing-intelligent  (Dual VVT-i) technology. This latest technology adds control of both lift and duration to the inlet valve variable timing to improve intake airflow volume and speed management. This enhances combustion process management to deliver more power with lower fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions.

On the 1,6 litre engine, Valvematic technology offers an increase of 20% in power over the engine it replaces while torque is up by over 6%. Fuel consumption as low as 6,8 l/100km is possible in normal usage and emissions are down by 11%. On the 1,8 litre engine power is up by 12%, torque increases by 6% and emissions are reduced by 10%. Fuel consumption can be as low as 7.0 l/100km.

Optimal Drive strategy is also employed on the new diesel engine for the Verso range in South Africa. As with the petrol engines the focus is on maximizing performance and driveability whilst minimising fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and particulate emissions.

This new diesel engine features latest generation piezo electric injectors to precisely control the injection of fuel into the cylinders. This precise control, in conjunction with a common rail injection pressure of 2000 bar, results in shorter injection times.

Toyota’s Optimal Drive philosophy introduces a range of advanced technology engines that is intended to power the majority of the vehicles produced by the company by 2010. The Optimal Drive concept is a key element in the achievement of an overall average CO2 target of below 140g/km for Toyota passenger vehicles.

Optimal Drive provides a true example of Toyota’s drive towards zero emissions and sustainable mobility.


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