Based on Toyota's New Global Architecture (TNGA), the Japanese carmaker has announced the introduction of a new engine that would be 60 percent more fuel efficient than the current generation ones. These new engines would come into 60 percent of Toyota Group cars by 2021, starting with Japan, and later moving on to China, Asia, Europe and the United States. In addition, the company will also introduce two new transmissions, an 8-speed and 10-speed unit, which would be compatible with TNGA. The fourth generation Prius is the first mass produced car that uses this platform. At a recent event held in New Delhi, Toyota raised its concerns and efforts with state governments and other authorities to bring down emissions in cars as well as increase safety in them.
The new engine, which would come in the new TNGA platform cars is a 2.5 litre direct-injection inline 4-cylinder petrol engine that would be coupled to an electric motor. Since this engine will be based on the new TNGA platform, it would be able to fit in most future Toyota or Lexus products as the new platform is known for its versatility for a front, rear and all-wheel-drive cars. (Also Read: Toyota Prius: First Impressions)
Toyota is the global leader in hybrid powertrains and with the introduction of Toyota 's Hybrid System II or THS II, which is claimed to be more efficient overall, will enable the Japanese company to further extend its lead in this future mobility segment. Toyota also seems to have shifted their focus towards battery operated and hybrid vehicles over fuel-cell technology. This could be possibly due to the high cost and storage problems associated with hydrogen. The Japanese company did showcase the Mirai concept at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show but since then has not revealed any new developments.
The company also plans to introduce 17 new engines in the next five years that would include the new 2.5-litre engine for TNGA cars and with the roll out of this new platform, component sharing would become easier thereby reducing the total manufacturing cost of any vehicle. Moreover, this should also lower the cost of hybrid technology due to benefits of scale.
Despite some hybrid vehicles in India such as the Honda Accord Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid and the upcoming Toyota Prius, price becomes one of the main deal-breakers. Case in point, the ex-showroom price of the Toyota Camry Hybrid is Rs 30.80 lakh and Honda Accord Hybrid is Rs 37 lakh, both ex-showroom Delhi. An additional waiver of taxes on hybrid cars by state governments would also reduce costs while making hybrid cars accessible to more potential buyers.
Could this be the future of cars in developing countries like India? Our take is that with the rising emissions and concerns expressed by manufacturers for a greener future, the Government and related authorities like NGT should take steps in order to reduce emissions by further relieving taxes on cars with lesser carbon footprints such as hybrid and electric models.