- “I am passionate about achieving an emission-free society”
In a recent interview done for Toyota, the Chariman Takeshi Uchiyamada (TU) spoke about the electrification of the Toyota line up of cars and here is an exceprt of his thoughts on fuel cell cars.
How do you see the market fragmenting: What proportion of vehicles will be fuel cell cars and how many will be pure electric vehicles?
TU: “Ultimately, it will be the user’s choice, not the automakers’ choice. The consumer will decide which system is the best and allow it to permeate the market.
“Another driver would be the extent of infrastructure available. Whether it is electricity or hydrogen that powers the motor, the supply infrastructure needs to be there, and that will be driven by a nation’s energy policy. We are keeping close watch over policy developments so that we are prepared no matter what emerges as mainstream.”
Your career with Toyota is approaching 50 years and you’re regarded as Father of the Prius. Do you feel that you still have a few more tricks up your sleeve?
TU: “I no longer engage in the front lines as a researcher but there are three things I aspire to achieve with everyone at Toyota.
There are three things I aspire to achieve with everyone at Toyota:
“One is to commercialise the fuel cell vehicle. Everyone… notices the changes in climate and we need to act before it is too late. That is why I am passionate about achieving an emission-free society by mobilising the efforts of all around me.
“The second goal is to realise auto-drive technology. Every year, 1.25 million people die in car accidents and this technology could help protect lives. Placing [autonomous cars] on the road is not enough; data from the vehicle needs to be monitored in order to swiftly engage the brakes, and scan the periphery of the car to ensure the driver does not step on the accelerator when the brakes should be applied. There are so many possibilities, and in deploying such technology we want to ensure that traffic accidents decrease.
“The third goal – and I have yet to come up with a more vivid image to describe this – is for cars to be connected to the cloud. The car is then converted into a sensor that works within a larger social system. As it travels the road it collects information, and that data is used to serve the interest of the owner.
“Having lived in this industry, I strongly believe these themes are truly challenging and exciting pursuits.”