Toyota going all-out with electric vehicles for the 2020 Olympics

The Olympics and the Paralympic Games will arrive in Tokyo next year, and the official Toyota fleet supplier is planning a massive deployment of vehicles with hydrogen and electric batteries.

The automaker says it will provide "3,700 products and / or mobility vehicles" for the Olympic Games, 90 percent of which will be "electrified." That can mean hybrid electric battery, hydrogen or even gas-electric. . Of the 3,700 vehicles, 850 will be electric battery and 500 will be electric fuel cell.

Vehicles come in all shapes and sizes: cars, buses, buses, scooters, mopeds … whatever. Toyota sees the Olympic Games as its great opportunity to showcase its line of experimental machines and alternative fuel, and it won't waste it.

Obviously, Toyota's main topic of conversation is the reduction of carbon emissions. According to the company's press materials:

Of approx. 3,700 products and / or mobility vehicles for Tokyo 2020, 2,700 vehicles will be part of the official fleet that will provide transportation support between locations during the Olympic Games. These will be commercially available vehicles, such as Mirai, etc. Preliminary calculations suggest that the CO2 emitted by the commercially available fleet for Tokyo 2020 will average less than 80 g / km * 1, which will result in a reduction of approx. half of the typical amount compared to a similarly sized fleet of mostly conventional gasoline and diesel models.

[…] As such, Toyota aims to achieve the lowest target emission level of any official fleet used in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Toyota, of course, pioneered the field of alternative fuels, with the launch of the hybrid Prius in 1997. But since then it has lagged behind in the race to launch premium and mass-market electric vehicles, having been surpassed by Tesla, GM, Nissan and others. The automaker has said it will launch six new electric vehicles from 2020 and will run until 2025, making the Olympic Games a great stage from which to launch that line.

In addition, Toyota plans to launch two of its previously unveiled (and odd looking) concept vehicles: the e-Palette and the Concept-yo. When it was revealed at CES in 2018, I described the e-Palettes as "strange, transparent and autonomous boxes that roam the cities, delivering people, packages and pizza."

toyota going all out with electric vehicles for the 2020 olympics

Toyota imagines these e-Palettes serving a variety of functions, from typical mobility services such as carpooling and carpooling, to less typical purposes such as serving as mobile offices and commercial premises, medical clinics, hotel rooms and more . But in the Olympic Games, electronic paddles "will support the transportation needs of staff and athletes, with a dozen or more running in a continuous circuit within the Olympic and Paralympic Village." Toyota says the vehicles will be autonomous "Level 4", which means they will not require a human driver, but will be limited to a specific geographic area.

The Concept-i (first revealed during CES 2017) will occupy a central place for Toyota as the operating vehicle in the torch relay and the leading car in the marathon. It will serve as a platform for Toyota to show its work with artificial intelligence, courtesy of the artificial intelligence assistant in the vehicle "Yui", and its work in highly automated driving.

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And, of course, there will be scooters of all stripes and sizes. Toyota plans to launch 300 standing electric scooters, as well as an unspecified number of "wheelchair-type and seated personal mobility devices."

Most of these vehicles are inefficient in transporting a large number of people compared to public transport modes such as subways, trains and buses. Tokyo is reportedly struggling to secure enough buses to meet the demand for the Olympic games, and the organizing committee anticipates that it will need a maximum of 2,000 buses a day for the sands around the city, and at least double that amount of drivers. So far, organizers have only produced 6,400 buses in the surrounding area, forcing the committee to broaden its search.

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