Q: Could you please share with the readers what your current role and responsibility in Toyota is and what you see as the main challenges in this assignment?
A: I am in charge of Technical Research Department and Government Regulatory Affairs Department under Technical External Affairs Division for ASEAN region. We monitor and conduct regulation research as well as certification movement and gather all of energy and technical information related to our business in order to foresee the future trend for future vehicle product planning.
Regarding fuel issue, we cooperate with our material engineering team in Toyota Motor Corporation to confirm the fuel specification according to emission regulations. The ASEAN region, in particular, is rich in biofuel so we need to double-check with each country for their requirement. We, in collaboration with fuel suppliers and government, are also working on quality improvement.
Q: Some ASEAN countries are pursuing cleaner fuel standards, and this is particularly evident in countries like Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam. Authorities are looking at legislating the EURO IV fuel specifications. How does Toyota view this development?
A: EURO IV fuel supply must be made available in time for the regulation so there would be no issue for the EURO IV vehicles. The Governments need to ensure to supply fuel which at least complies with the recommended Euro IV fuel specification in the market. We would be very delighted to collaborate and support whatever we can in this development.
Q: We understand that higher octane grades like a minimum of 95RON allow improved fuel efficiency and the introduction of new engine technologies that include smaller but more powerful turbocharged engines.
Can you please describe Toyota’s position on this and if governments should consider legislating higher octane grades for the benefit of improving fuel efficiency and the environment?
The improved octane grade is effective for boosting performance and fuel consumption of high compression ratio engines, turbocharged engines, etc., leading to an environmental improvement. We believe that the upgraded octane by blending ethanol is one of the effective solutions. The precaution, however, is that it's necessary to provide a stabilized supply in order to maximize the effectiveness in the market.
Q: As some countries have been using biofuels (bio-gasoline and bio-Diesel) for quite a few years now, could you share with us the problems encountered on the ground as learning experience to our relevant policy makers?
A: For bioethanol, there are concerns about the metal corrosion as acidic components such as formic acid and acetic acid are produced by the oxidized gasoline blended with ethanol. In the case of biodiesel, concerning points are oxidation stability, low temperature properties, water content, etc.
However the impact is dependent on feedstock of biodiesel and production process. For biodiesel with low oxidation stability, deposits are built up at fuel injector and the corrosion of fuel metal parts is accelerated by the acidic components due to the deteriorated fuel in fuel tank. Furthermore, the low temperature property of palm oil-derived diesel, PME (Palm Methyl Ester), in particular, is worse than that of other feedstock FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester). Also, when mixed with diesel oil, MG (mono-glyceride) precipitates even at a temperature higher than the Cloud Point, and there is a risk to lead fuel filter clogging early.
Since some concerns from high biofuel ratio should be considered, we would like to discuss with policy makers the necessary preparation and evaluation such as proper fuel specification or necessary measures for in-use vehicles in the market when they implement higher bio fuel ratio.
Q: Recently, it was noted that there has been a proliferation of the use of harmful chemicals and additives in gasoline and Diesel blending in Asia, and in fact, globally. This has led to countries like China and Vietnam banning these harmful additives in their fuel legislations.
Can you please share the auto-industry experiences and how the presence of harmful chemicals have impacted the performance of engines and components?
A: The following chemical substances impact the performance of engines and components.
- Aniline: Form deposit on Injector, Intake valve, combustion chamber
- Acetone: Deterioration of resin and rubber
- Organic chlorine: generated chlorine gas after combustion, then this gas is dissolved in condensed water and inner of exhaust pipe has rust
- Epoxy resin: fixed Intake valve (sticking),piston ring
- Metallic additives (Fe, Mn, Ca, Na etc): clogged injector, clogged catalyst, deposit build-up on spark plug and exhaust gas sensor. And generated oxide compound after combustion.
Q: What does Toyota see in the future years in terms of the adoption of new forms of fuels/energy like hydrogen and EVs?
A: Firstly, Toyota believes in a range of technologies to meet needs of different societies and customers. EV is advantageous from viewpoints of low emission potential and efficiency as compared to a conventional vehicle. However, EV also has many concerns from viewpoints of affordability, driving range, charging, and infrastructure under present conditions.
We regard hydrogen as a significant energy source for the future with a wide range of potential applications. It can be generated from various primary energy sources, as well as from water using solar, wind, or other natural energy. Hydrogen also has a higher energy density than electricity, is easy to store and transport, and can also be used for power supply purposes. However infrastructure in terms of hydrogen distribution channels and refuelling stations require huge investment from policy makers.
On the other hand, hybrid vehicles (HV) can be used in the same way as conventional vehicles that do not require any new infrastructure, making them an environmental friendly vehicle and suitable for widespread adoption. HV is the most realistic technology for market expansion to reduce oil consumption and CO2 for the time being.
The key parts that comprise the HV system—including batteries, motors, generators and PCUs (Power Control Units)—have been incorporated into next-generation environmentally friendly vehicles such as PHVs, EVs and FCVs. Toyota positions hybrid technology as a core technology that can be used with a variety of fuels and energy, enabling the diversification of energy. The basic technologies required by PHV, EV and FCV come from the HV so the spread of HV can establish a foundation for the spread of other technologies in next-generation vehicles. In other words, we believe that the proliferation of HV will lead to the proliferation of PHVs, EVs and FCVs.
A country that has many HV can be prepared to move to the next step
Since biofuel is also used by HV, the Well-to-Wheel (WTW) analysis – with its merit of massive CO2 reduction, will be an effective means of mitigating CO2 particularly in ASEAN region which has plenty of biofuel.