For almost 80 years, Toyota has been at the forefront of innovation in the automotive industry. The brand has continuously been willing to push the boundaries, and this has resulted in some of the most-appreciated features and capabilities in automotive history. The brand isn’t slowing down, as they’re currently working towards producing some of the world’s cleanest engines.
Of course, the majority of these technologies require a lengthy explanation, but we’ve provided some insight into their logic below. Who knows, maybe you’ll fall in love with one of these technologies, and you’ll soon be seeking an applicable vehicle from a Toyota dealership in Kansas City…
Fuel Cell System for Heavy-Duty Trucks
We’ve seen zero-emissions cars become more popular over the years, but Toyota is looking to take that technology to another level. The brand recently announced that they’re in the process of designing a hydrogen fuel cell system that caters to their crop of heavy-duty trucks. After teaming up with the Port’s Clean Air Action Plan and the California Air Resources Board, Toyota will begin research on the endeavor this summer.
“As they did with the Prius and the Mirai, Toyota is taking a leap into the future of technology. By bringing this heavy duty, zero emission hydrogen fuel cell proof of concept truck to the Port, Toyota has planted a flag that we hope many others will follow,” said Mary D. Nichols of the CARB. “CARB will be following the progress of this feasibility study with interest, as we look to develop the best mix of regulations and incentives to rapidly expand the market for the cleanest, most efficient big trucks to meet the need for dramatic change in the freight sector.”
These heavy-duty trucks traditionally require a whole lot of power, and this naturally has a negative effect on the environment as the vehicles are traveling around the country. Well, if Toyota has their way, their new engine will still be capable of delivering 670 horsepower and 1,325 feet-pounds of torque. All the while, the engine will emit only water, providing a cleaner and more conscious driving solution.
“Toyota believes that hydrogen fuel cell technology has tremendous potential to become the powertrain of the future,” said TMNA Executive Vice President Bob Carter. “From creating one of the world’s first mass market fuel cell vehicles, to introducing fuel cell buses in Japan, Toyota is a leader in expanding the use of versatile and scalable zero-emission technology. With Project Portal, we’re proud to help explore the societal benefits of a true zero emission heavy-duty truck platform.”
Exhaust Purifying Catalyst
Toyota recently unveiled a brand-new catalyst with an innovative (and potentially revolutionary) design. While drivers may not immediately recognize the impact that this addition will have on the actual model, the new inclusion will actually improve the entire driving experience while also positively impacting the environment.
For starters, the new catalyst uses 20 percent less metal, which means the vehicle will include 20 percent less volume. Fortunately, this doesn’t compromise the vehicle’s capabilities, as drivers can expect their vehicles to maintain the ideal exhaust gas purification performance. Ultimately, the new catalyst is the first in the world to include the “integrally-molded Flow Adjustable Design Cell substrate.” This technology relies on a revamped “cell cross-sectional area” that is focused on the inner portion of the part as opposed to the outer portion of the part.
How does the part help to reduce the impact on the environment? Toyota eloquently explained the influence in their press release:
“Increased usage of catalytic precious metals to clean exhaust gas and reduce air pollution presents many issues, including increased costs and resource depletion,” said the release. “Toyota has conducted extensive research and development into finding solutions to help improve the purification efficiency of catalytic precious metals, such as finding the optimal substrate shape and length, as well as modifying the cell wall thickness and cross-sectional area. Other R&D efforts include selectively washcoating precious metals and other catalytic materials, and changing catalytic substrate cell density in line with exhaust gas flows.”
Hydrogen vehicles were once a thing of the future. Well, Toyota is committed to making those innovative technologies a current reality. The brand recently teamed up with Shell to provide customers with a “hydrogen refueling infrastructure.” The plan is currently underway in California, with the state’s Energy Commission posting a Notice of Proposed Award worth more than $16 million to help fund the endeavor.
Hydrogen vehicles will have a major impact on the environment, as the use of low-carbon fuels will ultimately result in reduced pollution. Toyota has been involved in the hydrogen game for a while, as their fuel-celling Mirai is one of the few available vehicles to offer this innovative engineering. Thanks to unique technologies like steam reforming, gasification, and electrolysis, drivers will see a major reduction in the emissions.
“Providing accessible, reliable and convenient refueling is key to mainstream adoption of fuel cell vehicles,” said Craig Scott, Toyota Motor North America’s advanced technology vehicle senior manage. “Shell’s partnership will bring the expertise and resources of a major energy company to hydrogen infrastructure efforts in California. The team of Toyota and Shell will bring us one step closer to a hydrogen society.”
All of these endeavors may be a bit ambitious. However, if we were going to count on one particular brand to accomplish these unthinkable feats, it’d certainly be Toyota. Perhaps the best thing about the brand’s future innovations is their flexibility and open-mindedness. The company clearly isn’t looking to produce one clear car; rather, they’re looking for clever ways to improve the emissions of all of their offerings.
Of course, as was previously mentioned, its unlikely that you’ll see any of these technologies become mainstream anytime soon. However, some of the offerings are already featured in the brand’s vehicles, and we’ll surely see more of them introduced in the coming years and we can’t wait.