Wherever you look, you’ll see Toyota New Zealand at the forefront of environmental vehicle innovation. The company provides an array of options so New Zealanders can choose cleaner transport options, slashing carbon emissions in the process. It’s all about better choices for Kiwis that are affordable, safe, and crucially, better for the environment.
Leading the way
Yes, you’ll see the distinctive badge of Toyota – voted Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Car Brand in the country 18 years in a row – on plenty of electrified vehicles, but the company has much more in the works. A wide range of projects behind the scenes is further proof of its commitment to a reduction of greenhouse gases of at least 46 percent by 2030, and a net-zero carbon business by 2050.
These include innovations such hydrogen fuel cell technology to decarbonise heavy transport – trucks, buses, ships and stationary generators – as well as providing innovative, sustainable alternatives like Toyota’s hydrogen generator, which emits no carbon dioxide.
“Our ambition is to expand our Toyota fuel cells into more commercial applications,” explains Toyota New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Neeraj Lala. “We believe hydrogen technology can help decarbonise critical commercial sectors more effectively beyond light transport in the short-term.”
The fruits of Toyota’s research can also be seen in a myriad of other fields, even elite yachting. Toyota worked with long-term partner Emirates Team New Zealand to help develop the America’s Cup-winning syndicate’s hydrogen chase boat.
We’re in this together
The company has always been a part of the community. It’s evident in its backing of groups and charities such as Surf Life Saving New Zealand. For more than a decade, Toyota Financial Services has supported the organisation overseeing more than 74 surf life-saving clubs that patrol 80-plus locations and involve more than 4500 volunteer surf lifeguards.
Toyota also provides the charity with one of the country’s largest not-for-profit fleets.
This philosophy of being part of communities in an impactful way extends to pioneering a range of ownership models for low-emission technology, such as car-share and subscription options. Last year, the company launched the Toyota Hydrogen Project car-share scheme, partnering with eight Kiwi brands to showcase the technology capabilities of its Mirai cars. Their car share company, City Hop, is another prime example.
Another community-focused initiative is Waka Aronui, a scheme in which 20 families each lease a low-emitting hybrid Toyota Corolla wagon for a set fee of $95 per week.
Mr Lala says the beauty of the plan is that it addresses a societal need in terms of financial and environmental impact. “When I was first approached about the scheme and heard about the social impact it could have for families, it was an eye-opening moment for me,” says Mr Lala, who was last year elected to the Steering Committee of the Climate Leaders Coalition (CLC).
“As a builder of affordable cars, it has always been Toyota’s view that the transition to a low-emission future should be accessible and affordable for everyone. We knew we had to be involved in the
Waka Aronui programme as it has immense potential to make a difference to people’s everyday lives.”
The company is also working towards a circular economy and last year collected and recycled more than 900 hybrid vehicle batteries. In the same year, Toyota New Zealand also became the first automotive company in the country to announce science-based carbon reduction targets that include life-cycle emissions from sold vehicles.
Beyond the Prius
The company has long had a big-picture, practical, sustainable and unashamedly ambitious approach – well beyond selling clean-energy cars, although it leads the way in this field, too. “We have gone from having one pioneering hybrid – the Toyota Prius – to a range of electrified vehicles to meet customer needs,” says Mr Lala. “In fact, 67 percent of the passenger vehicles we offer today in New Zealand have an electrified option, and 36 percent of our 2022 sales were hybrids.”
Take a Kiwi favourite: all Toyota Corollas, including wagons, sold in the country now contain a 100 percent electrified offering using Toyota’s hybrid-electric powertrain.
“Toyota is helping create a cleaner tomorrow through future-focused initiatives, and we’re immensely proud of our achievements,” he says. “Toyota continues to lead the market when it comes to electrifying vehicles.”
Clean energy for all
Toyota’s research and plans are ongoing and aim to be all-encompassing: “We are all in this together. Our responsibility as a Kiwi brand and a market leader is to reduce not only our own emissions, but also help our supply and value chains, and customers to make a positive contribution,” says Mr Lala. “Our greatest challenge is reaching our net-zero carbon goals while ensuring no customer is left behind – by providing affordable, accessible and safe mobility for all.”
To find out more, go to toyota.co.nz/sustainabilty