Toyota will be investing 400 million złoty (around $113 million) into the manufacturing of a new 1.5 liter engine, to be used in its hybrid vehicles, at its facility in the city of Jelcz-Laskowice (in southwestern Poland), the company has revealed.
Production of the new hybrid engine will begin in 2020 in order to meet expected growing demand for hybrids and, thus, this hybrid engine.
“Hybrid drives currently account for 40% of Toyota’s European sales and their share is growing rapidly,” commented Eiji Takeichi, the head of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland, in a press release issued by Poland’s economy ministry. “This investment means that we will be able to meet market demand.”
“Toyota currently has two manufacturing plants in Poland’s Lower Silesia region,” Reuters reports. “The combustion engine factory in Jelcz-Laskowice employs nearly 500 people while another plant in the city of Walbrzych, which also produces transmissions, employs 1,500 people.”
This news follows on a variety of other announcements from Toyota which make it hard to tell if there’s actually a clear development plan being followed at the company — or if the company has a thousand heads, so to speak.
Toyota established a joint venture with Mazda & Suzuki a few months ago to develop plug-in electric vehicle tech, citing the need to catch up with rivals;
execs have stated that the company’s “game-changing solid-state battery tech” (for use in electric vehicles) should be ready for market within just a few years;
but Toyota seems to be pursuing the rollout of personal hydrogen fuel cell cars just the same;
the head of the company established a new division earlier this year focused specifically on electric vehicle development, with him personally overseeing it, but only a handful of employees working in it as far as we’ve seen;
and now this announcement.
I guess with the amount of resources that the company has, it can afford to pursue an all-of-the-above strategy, but the seeming contradiction of it all can be a bit jarring — what are company execs really expecting to happen market-wise over the coming decade? Do execs genuinely believe that personal hydrogen fuel cell cars are going to make economic sense? Or is that all just a stalling tactic so the company can sell as many of its (highly lucrative) hybrids as possible before regulations demand their phaseout? Is there a lot of disagreement amongst top execs on the matter?
One a related note — I recently heard the explanation that the reason that the Japanese auto manufacturers seem to be generally supporting the idea of personal hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and more importantly why there’s government support for the tech, is that some people actually think that it’s going to be economically viable to “mine” the methane clathrate reserves off of the country’s coasts — thus providing a solution to the country’s lack of fuel resources, which has been compounded by the recent push to back away from nuclear energy (methane clathrate can possibly be used as feedstock for hydrogen fuel). Who knows how much truth there is to that seeming speculation, but I suppose that it would explain some things.
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