Toyota to phase out gasoline cars by 2050

The Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Image courtesy of Toyota.
The Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (image courtesy of Toyota).

Japanese automaker Toyota has this week announced ambitious plans to phase out gasoline-powered cars by 2050.

As the first of six key environmental challenges outlined by the company, Toyota plans to reduce the CO2 emissions of its new vehicles by 90% before the year 2050.

This figure would be based on the baseline 2010 emissions of its vehicles.

Driving this pledge is the company’s desire to help reduce the effects of global warming on the planet.

“While the world is trying to move toward a ‘below 2 ̊C” scenario’ Toyota has, under the ‘New Vehicle Zero CO2 Challenge’, decided to challenge itself to reduce vehicle CO2”, the company stated in a press release.

Alongside this new vehicle emissions pledge, the company also identified five other important “environmental challenges”.

These include manufacturing vehicles with ‘lifetime zero emissions’ including the energy used in the production of the materials used in the car, as well as during the production processes.

Furthermore, Toyota has also set out to minimize water use, enhance recycling, and build a future society “in harmony with nature”.

Despite these later goals being rather poorly defined, the company has stated that its new vehicle technologies will help it achieve its more concrete emissions targets.

Such vehicles include its highly successful hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius, as well as its newly released hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCV) called the Toyota Mirai.

One possible obstacle for Toyota’s plans is the continuing dependence on fossil fuels by most countries. Without a switch to renewable power, the hydrogen used in FCVs will still create significant carbon emissions.

Electric future may come much faster

While Toyota plans to eliminate internal combustion by the year 2050, some automakers such has Tesla Motors have already achieved this by focusing on plug-in electric vehicles.

Should Telsa, or companies like it, manage to successfully manufacture low-cost electric vehicles, these could be incredibly disruptive to the auto market due to the inherent advantages they have over gasoline powered vehicles.

But while the debate rages on regarding which is better, electric or hydrogen, the consensus from experts suggests that the future will likely feature both forms of propulsion.