Toyota And Exxon Test Low Carbon Fuels To Keep Gas Engines Alive

Electric Vehicles / 11 Comments

This could allow owners to keep their ICE vehicles longer.

Toyota has formed a partnership with ExxonMobil to begin testing low-carbon fuel blends that could potentially help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from road transportation by up to 75%. That latter figure, we must point out, is being compared to today's vehicles but it'd still be quite a significant reduction if the testing proves productive. According to Toyota, the fuel blends are made from cleaner feedstocks.

Toyota has already determined that "these innovative formulas are compatible with older vehicles as well as its current model line-up." The carmaker is aware that not all car owners are ready (or willing) to trade in their ICE vehicles for something purely battery-electric, like the Toyota bZ4X.

These low-carbon fuels will also remain compatible with the current fueling infrastructure. In other words, existing gas stations wouldn't have to change a thing, except for receiving this new fuel blend.

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Now before everyone gets too excited, these new fuel blends are still very much in the testing phase. Nothing was mentioned in the press release about a potential launch date. Toyota and ExxonMobil would also have to receive regulatory approval, a process that will take time.

This partnership is not the first time we've seen someone develop an alternative fuel blend. Porsche has already done similar with its synthetic fuel, which began production last December at a facility in Chile. This carbon-neutral fuel will emit only the carbon used to make it which results in a net zero carbon footprint.

In Toyota's case, its experimental fuels are essentially existing feedstocks, such as biomass and ethanol, that were produced using cleaner processes. It is not creating an entirely new fuel type from scratch like Porsche.

This announcement comes at an interesting time because Toyota very recently appointed a new CEO, Koji Sato, to take the place of Akio Toyoda, who will now assume the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors.

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Toyoda was very vocal about his hesitation with pure electric vehicles, particularly pure battery-electrics for several reasons. Among them is the fact that critical charging infrastructure does not yet exist and governments are moving too slowly to get it ready. Toyoda also expressed concern that there simply is not enough lithium, a chemical element essential to lithium-ion battery production, in the world to supply mass adoption of BEVs.

Solid-state batteries, which are currently being developed by Toyota and others, require up to 35% more lithium than their lithium-ion counterparts, according to a research study conducted by Transport and Environment, a European-based organization that promotes clean energy in transportation.

Meanwhile, Toyota will continue to take a broad approach to C02 reduction by offering a combination of plug-ins, hybrids, and BEVs.

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