UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) has reiterated its commitment to decarbonise local roads by presenting the next step in its multi-pathway strategy to support Malaysia’s goal of becoming a carbon-neutral nation by 2050. This is also in line with Toyota Motor Corporation’s support of the Paris Agreement, where it too aims to achieve carbon neutrality by said year.
The idea is to provide a variety of low-carbon personal transport solutions to meet the needs of Malaysians, which can be highly diverse and dependent on the availability of relevant infrastructure in their localities. To cover as many segments of customers as possible, UMWT says it will offer the best fit-for-purpose solutions with different powertrain types.
One such solution that we are already familiar with is the Toyota Hybrid System (THS), a staple in Toyota’s line-up since 1997 with the debut of the first Prius. In the years since its introduction, more than 18.1 million Toyota cars with the hybrid system have been sold worldwide.
According to UMWT, Toyota hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have a long history of proven reliability on Malaysian roads since 2009, which is the year the third-generation Prius went on sale here. We also got the facelifted version of the Prius in 2012, along with its more compact sibling, the Prius c, in 2012.
At present, UMWT’s electrified line-up only includes the Corolla Cross Hybrid which is locally assembled at UMWT’s manufacturing subsidiary Assembly Service Sdn Bhd (ASSB) plant in Bukit Raja, Selangor. The company noted that from 2009 until now, 35,700 Toyota hybrid cars have been sold in Malaysia, decarbonising approximately half a million tonnes of CO2 yearly.
The self-charging THS does not depend on public charging infrastructure, while also promising immediate carbon reduction without compromising long-distance driving practicality and peace of mind usage. As such, the company believes that the HEVs are the most practical and cost-effective solution for Malaysians today.
“For Malaysia, we believe HEVs are the most suitable for Malaysians, considering the fuel source of our electricity generation and availability of charging infrastructure outside city centres in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. We will add more HEV models in 2023,” said UMWT president Datuk Ravindran Kurusamy.
While HEVs are deemed as a good fit today, Toyota recognises that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are also important for carbon neutrality. To support the creation of a BEV-friendly ecosystem, UMWT says it will support Malaysia’s goal of having 4,000 charging points by the end of this year.
The company has already confirmed that the bZ4X will be sold in Malaysia, although it has yet to provide an official launch date. Nonetheless, it has registered sample units of the bZ4X for market research and technical evaluation on local road conditions, some of which were also on display at the company’s Shah Alam office. “As infrastructure to support BEVs improves, UMWT will launch a BEV model in the near-term,” the company said in its release.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology is also not new to Toyota, as the company introduced the world’s first mass-produced and commercially marketed hydrogen fuel cell vehicle with the original Mirai that made its global debut in 2014.
Hydrogen is increasingly being considered as a potential fuel to decarbonise the energy sector, with Sarawak leading the way in Malaysia when Sarawak Energy launched Southeast Asia’s first integrated hydrogen production plant and refuelling station in 2019.
To support the green hydrogen agenda in Malaysia, January saw UMWT hand over five units of the second-generation Mirai to SEDC Energy as well as Sarawak state premier, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to be used as official cars, with three more on the way.
Along with plug-in hybrid powertrains, Toyota believes that a multi-pathway strategy is the best approach towards attaining carbon neutrality. With presence in over 170 countries worldwide, the carmaker understands that the needs of its customers and the availability of clean renewable energy differ greatly around the world, and it doesn’t plan to abandon any customer group in its mission. To date, more than 20 million electrified vehicles have been sold globally, contributing to a CO2 reduction of 165 million metric tons.
“Toyota customers come from a very diverse background, not just customers living in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, but also in East Malaysia. We believe in giving choices to customers. They will determine which green solution is best for them. We will continue to evaluate different options and introduce them as appropriate,” commented Ravindran.
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