Tuesday, August 29, 2023

TKM Unveils Prototype Of The World's First BS 6 (Stage II) Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle, Contributing Towards Realising National Goals

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) sets yet another milestone in the realm of sustainable mobility by unveiling a Prototype of the World's First BS 6 (Stage II) Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle. As a part of its unwavering commitment to India’s national objectives, TKM has been actively pursuing technologies that are aligned with the unique energy landscape of the country and can help rapidly displace fossil fuel consumption at large scale as well as achieving low carbon emissions on a comprehensive Well-to-Wheel (W2W) basis. This milestone reaffirms and demonstrates TKM’s dedication and ongoing endeavours to introduce advanced & green mobility solutions in line with the nation’s key priorities.

India is the fastest growing large economy, and India's fossil fuel consumption along with crude oil import is also rising rapidly. Due to a large increase in mobility needs, the transport sector, which currently accounts for about 50% of oil demand, will be the most significant contributor to this. As per estimates, the transport sector energy consumption in India is expected to double to 200 Mtoe (Million Tonnes of Oil Equivalent) of energy in 2030. The higher fossil fuel consumption is also bound to result in larger carbon emissions. Therefore, it is imperative for us to rapidly shift away from fossil fuels with utmost urgency. 

India is well endowed with renewable energy, surplus sugar, food grains, and biomass which offers huge possibilities for a transition to a cleaner energy future, which is also indigenous. The abundantly available sugarcane, excess food grains, along with huge biomass waste can be used to produce ethanol that can substitute a significant amount of petrol used by vehicles in the shortest possible time.

Notably, in the recent past, the Ethanol mix (in petrol) in India has gone up from 1.53% in 2013-14 to 11.5% in March 2023, which has helped reduce the oil import bill by Rs. 41,500 crores in the last eight years. Further, in 2020-21, ethanol blending enabled a reduction of 26 million barrels of petrol, thereby resulting in savings of Rs. 10,000 crores. With the impending implementation of E20 (20% ethanol blending in petrol) by April 2025, India is expected to save Rs. 35,000 crores annually in its oil import bill and reduce GHG Emission by 21 million metric tonnes. E20 fuel will also reduce PM2.5 emissions by up to 14% as compared to petrol.

Besides ethanol from sugarcane & food grains, India also has huge potential for Ethanol production using plant waste or residues like Parali by using 2G technology, which is otherwise burnt causing widespread pollution in northern parts of India. This has already started and can help derive economic value from waste & generate greater wealth for the agrarian economy, supporting Government’s vision, wherein farmers will not just be 'Annadatas' but also become ‘Urjadatas’ with vehicles powered by ethanol produced by proud farmers.

For India, Ethanol provides exciting opportunities for a most impactful & disruption free energy transition. Higher Ethanol use presents the possibility to realize self-reliance in the true sense, due to its abundant availability, technology accessibility, existing competitive manufacturing ecosystem, as well as the fuel generation & dispensing infrastructure. Post 2025, India will have surplus ethanol well beyond the requirement for E20 regime. To fully realise the available potential and to maximize the social benefits, Flex Fuel Vehicle technologies i.e., vehicles that can use higher blends of ethanol beyond 20% mix (E20), will be required.

The challenge with Flex Fuel Vehicles is lower fuel efficiency of Ethanol due to its lower energy density. Globally to counter this challenge, Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicles are being introduced, as an advanced green technology that has both the flex fuel engine as well as an electric powertrain. Therefore, as in the case of a Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicle (SHEV), which can run 40% of the distance and 60% of the time in electric mode (under specific test conditions) with the petrol engine shut off, the use of the electric powertrain in combination with the flex fuel engine overcomes this challenge with enhanced fuel efficiency. As such, Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicles provides the twin benefit of higher fuel substitution (with ethanol) as well as good fuel efficiency, due to high ratio of electric mode driving. The Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicles uses minimal advanced chemistry batteries (~ 1.3-1.5 KWhr Vs 40-60 KWhr for BEV), thus guarding against negative impact of high imports of cells & cell raw material, considering possible geo-political supply risks.

While Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle technology was introduced in Brazil during 2019, the emission norms followed there are lower than BS 6. The prototype of Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle unveiled today is built-on the most admired Innova Hycross and is designed to be compatible with India’s higher emission norms, making it the world’s first Prototype of BS 6 (Stage II) Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle.  The next steps for the prototype include further finer calibration, homologation, and certification. This signifies a pivotal moment in the Indian auto industry’s journey towards a greener and more self-reliant future.

The Electrified Flex Fuel prototype, Innova Hycross, was unveiled by the Chief Guest, Shri Nitin Gadkari Ji, Hon’ble Union Minister - Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India; along with the Guest of Honour, Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey Ji, Hon’ble Union Minister - Ministry of Heavy Industries; and Guest of Honour, Shri Hardeep Puri Ji, Hon’ble Union Minister – Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Government of India. The event took place at New Delhi, in the presence of key senior officials of Government of India, dignitaries from the diplomatic corps, industry leaders, academia, experts from various associations and industry bodies, media, Mrs. Geetanjali Kirloskar, Chairperson and Managing Director, Kirloskar Systems Private Limited and TKM Senior Leadership – Mr. Masakazu Yoshimura, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Vikram Gulati, Country Head & Executive Vice President, Mr. Sudeep S. Dalvi, Senior Vice President, Director & Chief Communication Officer and other Toyota executives.

Unveiling the prototype of World’s First BS 6 (Stage II), Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle of Toyota, Shri. Nitin Gadkari Ji, Hon’ble Union Minister, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, stated, “Ethanol being an indigenous, clean & renewable fuel holds a promising future for India. The Government’s focus on ethanol is for achieving energy self-reliance, spurring the incomes for farmers and having a better impact on the environment. The Government’s plan is not only to diversify agriculture surpluses towards the energy sector but also generate wealth from waste using 2G technology for producing ethanol from bio-waste. A lot of emphasis is being laid on building and expanding the necessary infrastructure to produce ethanol in the whole country.

It is indeed commendable to see that Toyota is making strong efforts for transiting to cleaner energy options and for environment conservation with its multiple advanced technological capabilities like Hydrogen Vehicle, Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle and more. Today, we unveiled the Prototype of the World’s First BS 6 (Stage II), Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle of Toyota, aligning with the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan’.

Commenting during the unveiling ceremony, Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon'ble Union Minister, Ministry of Heavy Industries, Government of India, said, “Allying with the Prime Minister’s vision to achieve the target of Net Zero by 2070, we are rapidly shifting towards sustainable mobility, India will require all green technologies, wherein biofuels will play a major role. Accordingly, the Ministry of Heavy Industries has been supporting the development and manufacturing of all clean vehicle technologies through various schemes such as PLI, FAME, etc. These schemes will help in attracting investments, localization of advanced technologies, employment generation, and promote sustainable growth & development of the Indian auto industry.

I am happy to unveil the prototype of World’s First BS 6 (Stage II) Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle from Toyota and commend their efforts towards sustainable mobility with the introduction of this advanced and innovative technology. I am confident that the Indian automotive industry will make a place for itself in the world market”.

Present during the Unveiling of Prototype of World’s First BS 6 (Stage II) Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle, Shri Hardeep S Puri, Hon’ble Union Minister, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Government of India, said, “In 2014, India was blending Ethanol only to the extent of 1.53%. With the huge efforts made by the Government and the industry, in a short span of 8 years, have increased by over 8 times to reach the blending of around 11.5% (Mar ’23). This has helped us not only to make big savings in the import bills but also has contributed to lowering of carbon emissions. We have advanced the target for E20 blending to 2025 (5 years ahead of earlier planned schedule), from the original plan of 2030 and I am very happy to note that with the strong efforts made by all the stakeholders, we will achieve this. Currently, E20 fuel is being dispensed at more than 3,300 fuel stations across the country and shall be available pan India by April 2025.

With E20 implementation by April 2025, expected import bill savings may be around Rs. 35,000 crores annually, oil import displacement will be 63 million barrels of gasoline (in EY 2024-25). This will further contribute to reduce GHG Emission by 21 million metric tonnes and PM 2.5 emissions up to 14% than gasoline. We are confident that by such time, we will not only have E20 but beyond. We have supported the introduction of facilities with 2G technology, therefore the use of Parali, to generate Ethanol, which is otherwise burnt causing pollution. This initiative by Toyota today is particularly important as it introduces the world’s first BS 6 (Stage II) Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle prototype, which has both the flex fuel engine as well as an electric powertrain, thereby offering higher use of ethanol combined with better fuel efficiencies. With Industry and Government collaboration, we see India becoming a global hub for cleaner technologies and achieving self-reliance in energy soon.

Speaking at the Unveiling Ceremony of its Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle Prototype, Mr. Masakazu Yoshimura, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said, "Today marks a significant step forward in our commitment to environmental stewardship with the unveiling of the prototype of world's first BS 6 (Stage II), Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle. At Toyota, we believe that ‘Carbon’ is the real enemy. This pioneering achievement underscores TKM’s steadfastness towards shaping a carbon-neutral mobility society in line with Government of India’s initiatives by adopting multiple pathways.

We believe that the technology is only a means to the end. Toyota has access to all vehicle technologies. Having said that, each market has its uniqueness, and we continue to evaluate & introduce cleaner technologies that suit the local eco-system, considering the local energy mix, infrastructure readiness, and consumer acceptance so that the reduction in usage of fossil fuel & carbon emissions can be achieved at scale and faster pace. As a responsible corporate citizen, we stand resolute in our efforts to contribute to a greener and more self-reliant future of India. Through newer innovations and advancements in technological offerings, we aim to pave the way for a sustainable energy landscape that aligns with our core principle of 'Respect for the Planet' and ‘Leave No One Behind’."

India's transition towards a sustainable economy demands a multifaceted approach, embracing a variety of fuels and cutting-edge technologies. Among these, Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle offers the promise of being most impactful and fastest pathway to bolster energy security by rapidly displacing petrol usage in vehicles at large scale. Having two powertrains (electric and flex fuel engine), Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle helps to shift ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) technology to flex fuel engines and further enables the creation of new manufacturing ecosystem for electrified powertrain parts which are common to Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) thereby providing a disruption free & smooth energy transition. As is the case with all advanced and green technologies, faster consumer adoption is critical, and based on global experience, it is seen that merit based fiscal & non-fiscal policies, including vehicle taxation, which proportionately supports all green vehicle technologies, will be required for their success.

TKM's collaborative efforts towards promoting bio-fuel energy pathway extends beyond unveiling the prototype. The company has also previously exchanged a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Science (IISC, Bangalore) and Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) undertaking study of W2W emissions and creating awareness about the use of ethanol as a sustainable biofuel. We are also discussing with frontier organisations like PRAJ Industries & others to collaborate in the Ethanol space. Such partnerships underscores TKM's commitment to reducing fossil fuel dependence and contributing to India's journey toward carbon neutrality.

As a frontrunner in electrified vehicle technology and a socially responsible corporate entity, TKM will persistently drive its endeavours and contribute to progressive innovations by disseminating sustainable technological advancements, thereby providing ‘Mobility for All’ and “Leaving No One Behind.”

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