In possibly a first for India, the Urban Cruiser Hyryder is a ‘green’ car being produced at a ‘green’ manufacturing plant.
In 2018, the Toyota Kirloskar Motor plant in Bidadi near Bengaluru was declared the greenest among the 56 plants run globally by the Japanese company. And the Urban Cruiser Hyryder is a hybrid car, which over its lifecycle is ‘greener’ than petrol/diesel cars as well as electric cars (in the current energy mix, a lot of electricity is produced by burning coal).
Vikram Gulati, country head & senior vice-president, TKM, told FE that the Bidadi plant uses 100% renewable energy for its grid electricity needs. “TKM achieved 100% renewable energy from June 2021 onwards (grid electricity) which includes the TKM manufacturing plant at Bidadi and eight onsite supplier companies, resulting in a carbon offset of 13,686.31 tonnes (April-August 2021),” he said. “On water conservation initiatives, there have been outstanding results with reduced freshwater usage by 90% in manufacturing.”
The TKM plant has rooftop solar installation, onsite and offsite solar parks, and it purchases green power if needed. TKM also utilises rainwater within the premises—its rainwater harvesting systems have a capacity of 51,000 cubic metres (51 million litres)—and has installed wastewater treatment facility with membrane bioreactor and reverse osmosis technologies.
TKM’s eco efforts are part of parents company’s environmental goals, which include achieving ‘Carbon Neutrality by 2050’ and ‘Net Zero Carbon in Manufacturing Operations’ by 2035.
While plant-level eco efforts can help achieve a substantial part of the ‘Net Zero Carbon in Manufacturing Operations’ goal, achieving ‘Carbon Neutrality’ is a far more complex goal, which includes reduced emissions over the lifecycle of the vehicles produced by a carmaker, among other things.
To achieve the carbon neutrality goal, TKM started by local assembly of the Camry Hybrid car last decade and is now producing the Urban Cruiser Hyryder SUV (a mass-market car).
“While ultimately only electric cars will help us achieve carbon neutrality, focusing on self-charging hybrid electric vehicles is the right step in the interim,” Gulati said.
A reason, he added, is the current energy mix in India, in which coal is being primarily used to generate electricity.
According to the ‘India Energy Outlook 2021’ analysis by the IEA (International Energy Agency), 70% of electricity generation in India happens by burning coal.
According to the 2021 Nomura report ‘Holistic Assessment of Alternate Powertrains for Passenger Vehicles in India’, hybrid cars have the lowest lifetime well-to-wheel carbon dioxide emissions (30% lesser emissions) as compared to electric cars, whose batteries get charged predominantly by burning coal (in the current Indian energy mix scenario).
“The Urban Cruiser Hyryder will reduce the carmaker’s carbon footprint (compared to a hypothetical scenario if it had been launched as a petrol-only or diesel-only car),” said an auto analyst. “Under the Toyota-Suzuki partnership, Maruti Suzuki’s Grand Vitara, which is a rebadged Urban Cruiser Hyryder, is also being produced at the Bidadi plant, and both these cars are expected to displace a substantial number of petrol and diesel cars in the market, reducing both fossil fuel imports and carbon emissions.”