Toyota ready to launch flex-fuel vehicles as soon as India is ready  | The Financial Express

Toyota ready to launch flex-fuel vehicles as soon as India is ready 

Nagendar HV, the Department Head of power train and planning, Toyota, speaks to Express Mobility on Toyota’s comprehensive portfolio of clean mobility, from electric hybrids to hydrogen-powered vehicles and the timeline.

Toyota ready to launch flex-fuel vehicles as soon as India is ready 

India is on the path to achieve clean mobility and to do so, India has made a comprehensive set of policies to help support carmakers and components. However, when looking at clean energy, the road to achieving it is done by small steps and exploring other possibilities too.

One such possibility is flex-fuel vehicles that can run on ethanol, using the same internal combustion engines carmakers offer. This not only allows carmakers to cut down on the cost of the vehicle, but also save on investments. Exploring alternate fuel choices also opens doors to component makers as they have to develop or tweak existing components to suit higher levels of ethanol, for example.

Speaking to Express Mobility on the sidelines of the Invest Karnataka 2022 event, Nagendar HV, the Department Head of power train and planning, Toyota, says that few components have to be tweaked such as rubber lines as they react to ethanol. A vehicle’s ECU needs to be remapped along with a few other components that either need tweaking or developed from scratch.

This is not a concern for Toyota at all, as the carmaker has multiple products that run on ethanol, hydrogen, or electric power. Toyota has been selling hybrid vehicles in India for a while now. The Toyota Camry Hybrid has been on sale for many years and in recent times, the carmaker has launched the Urban Cruiser Hyryder, another self-charging hybrid vehicle aimed at the mass market. What about flex-fuel vehicles though?

In order to bring flex-fuel vehicles, India needs a set of policies in place post which carmakers can get the vehicles certified. Also, infrastructure is something to think about, as there will be no point in a product that cannot be used. The third, obviously, is demand from customers. Car buyers need a vehicle that can be used for short city commutes, as well as long distance travel.

Toyota already sells vehicles that run on a high mix of ethanol in Brazil, which also happens to be the highest ethanol producer globally. India is getting ready in terms of the capability to produce ethanol, as sugarcane is a primary source, while ethanol can be manufactured from grains and vegetables as well. India has plans to set up ethanol manufacturing plants, which will be the first step towards setting up the infrastructure.

Oil companies are also ready with pumps to dispense ethanol — HP and BPCL have invested heavily on procuring ethanol and also setting up their outlets to dispense the same. When the two pain points of flex fuel are addressed — manufacturing and dispensing — demand will rise. And when it does, Toyota has a comprehensive portfolio of vehicles that can run on ethanol and hydrogen.

Toyota launching hydrogen-powered vehicles is also on the cards once the three before-mentioned criteria are met — manufacturing, dispensing, and demand.

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First published on: 03-11-2022 at 15:18 IST