Every Toyota engineer designing a new car gets an environmental impact budget as well as a financial one. Designers must consider the total amount of carbon dioxide produced in the design, production and lifetime operation of a new vehicle. This sounds both encouraging and socially responsible. But you have to wonder too if it’s really an equation for sustainability. Right now, there are about three-quarters of a billion cars worldwide; by 2050, if market trends continue, “we could conceivably have 2 billion or even 2.5 billion cars.” Accommodating those cars will entail building new roads and new factories and spending vast amounts of energy to make shipments. All those activities will create enormous emissions on their own. So even with giant strides in clean-vehicle technology, just doubling the number of vehicles could increase the overall environmental effect by a factor of three.
Laudable though Toyota’s efforts are, they are not the answer to ‘keeping ahead of the oil curve’, more ingenious ways of providing mobility are required to satify the one planet equation. Comments please