1. Reduce

Reduce

Learn more about the ways we’re reducing our impact on the environment

By reducing the materials, resources and power we need to build a car, we can reduce our impact on the environment. If we can use less, then we can also waste less.  

That is how the concept of reduction plays an important part in our mission to create the ultimate eco-car – one that has no impact on the environment at any point during its lifecycle. We strive to use less energy, less water and fewer raw materials when we make our cars, through intelligent design and efficient manufacturing processes. 

We research and apply innovative materials, new processes and smarter ways of working and monitor our progress against assessment targets for each vehicle at every stage from design, through production, customer use and eventual disposal. 

Our Achievements So Far 

Design and Innovation

Our efforts to reduce the environmental impact of our vehicles begin right at the start of the design process, inspiring clever new thinking about everything from how a car performs to the kind of materials we use to make it. 

SUSTAINABLE DESIGN: ECO-VAS 

To help us in our work of delivering greener vehicles with lower emissions and less impact on the world around us, it is essential that we have a strategy in place and can measure our progress. We have come up with a structured way of doing this – the Toyota Ecological Vehicle Assessment System, known as Eco-VAS.

Using Eco-VAS, we can set targets for reducing environmental impacts as soon as we start to plan and develop a new vehicle. We produce a lifecycle assessment to show what its environmental impact will be, from design through production to customer use and eventual disposal at the end of its useful life.

INNOVATIVE FEATURES 

Reducing the weight of a vehicle is a key way to cut both the amount of fuel it uses and the emissions it produces. To maximize weight reduction, we look at how and where weight can be saved right from the design stage. We also look closely at every component to see how it might be made lighter, without compromising performance. The success of our new lightweight designs can be seen in our Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which has progressively been made more compact and 20% lighter overall. 

Example of innovative material integration in the Prius II. 

As a project moves from design to prototype and production, performance is constantly measured against the Eco-VAS targets. This meticulous approach has encouraged the development of new materials, such as bio-plastics and Toyota Super Olefin Polymer (TSOP), a polypropylene resin that is very strong, has high-impact resistance and can be recycled and integrated with other materials. 

We use TSOP widely both inside and outside our vehicles; for instrument panels, trim parts and even bumpers. Our work in this area has also helped us discover new ways of putting recycled materials to good use. 

SMART DESIGN 

Our design teams think carefully about how a vehicle will be used and in what kind of driving environment. This smart design approach helps reduce environmental impact and takes us closer to developing the ultimate eco-car. The i-ROAD is a good example; a compact all-electric vehicle that is easy to manoeuvre on urban streets, helping reduce congestion while producing no harmful exhaust emissions. 

ECOLOGICAL PLASTICS 

We have pioneered the development and use of plastics that are made from organic material, rather than oil-based products. We have been producing these carbon-neutral bio-plastics from sustainable plant crops since 2003, helping to achieve reductions in the CO2 emitted during a vehicle’s lifecycle. 

We were the first manufacturer in the world to develop injection-moulded bio-plastics, making it possible to use the material for components like the instrument panel in the Prius. You also find bio-plastics in soundproofing material, carpet mats and boot linings. 

Ecological plastic use has been increasing since 2003. 

CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT 

We have been taking steps to reduce our impact on the environment, long before European legislation made it a requirement. We have reduced or eliminated the use of heavy metals such as lead*, cadmium and mercury that can cause long-term environmental damage if not disposed of properly. We use lead-free car parts and anti-corrosion treatments and mercury-free lighting and switches. We also avoid using solvents and paints that contain harmful substances.

We fully comply with REACH, the European regulation on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals, and work with all our business partners to ensure they also understand their duties and responsibilities. REACH activities take place in every part of our business, including manufacturing, parts and accessories. It is our intention to become a world leader in the field of safe chemicals and other chemical regulations. 
*Except in starter batteries as indicated in the exemptions in Annex II of Commission Directive 2000/53

REACH is the European regulation on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals.