Toyota, the hydrogen cartridge could change the world

Toyota, the hydrogen cartridge could change the world


Perhaps not everyone knows that the Toyota Motor Corporation is made up of a large number of companies unknown to the general public: one of these is called Woven Planet, and is involved in the design and development of technologies for the future.

In recent years Woven Planet has been working on its technological solution dedicated to autonomous driving and, similarly to what Tesla did, it has decided to rely entirely on the use of video cameras, eliminating the Lidar instead.

A company like this certainly cannot work on just one project at a time, and in fact among the projects carried out in parallel by Woven Planet there is one that could revolutionize the way the world is powered: it is a portable prototype of a hydrogen, useful for powering a large number of household appliances or work tools both at home and outside.

"The ultimate goal of this project is to have a completely carbon-neutral society, where everyone can access clean energy - first in Japan, and then in the rest of the world. Toyota and Woven Planet aim to develop the best solutions that allow us to integrate the use of hydrogen into our daily life. "

Woven Planet will test the operation of its cartridge inside Woven City, a "smart city" currently under construction in Susono City, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan. Toyota continues to be firmly convinced that hydrogen will be the future of power, at least in certain areas, and it is for this reason that it continues to invest in new solutions to exploit it.

Next-Gen Toyota Tacoma and 4Runner Likely Borrowing Tundra's Platform

Cooper Ericksen, group vice president of product planning and strategy for Toyota Motor North America and Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales, say the company is planning to roll out the body-on-frame TNGA-F platform in a similar fashion as it did with its modular unibody TNGA-K car platform.

The TNGA-K platform was first introduced on the Camry, and it now supports all of Toyota's unibody vehicles—from the Corolla to the compact RAV4 to the three-row Highlander SUV. Ericksen says the new TNGA-F platform, which was developed for body-on-frame vehicles and currently supports the Tundra, Sequoia, Lexus LX600, and global Land Cruiser not sold here, will continue to expand across the lineup.

'On the truck side it's the same strategy. [TNGA-F] is the first platform developed for our trucks. So, we're going to start to roll that out on all our brand-based trucks, and it's going to offer dramatic improvements', Ericksen adds. This means the smaller body-on-frame vehicles like Tacoma and 4Runner will most likely be based on the TNGA-F platform, which should modernize their driving dynamics without reducing their capabilities.

Carter says the adaptability of the TNGA-F platform allows Toyota to modify it easily. '[The platforms] can be lengthened, they can be widened, the rigidity can be stiffer. It has given us more flexibility, so the lineup is stronger than ever.'

Besides offering more flexibility, the TNGA platform also allows Toyota to spend less time (and money) developing the vehicles, per Ericksen. 'TNGA is more than just the platform of the vehicle, is an engineering philosophy where you take the time to engineer certain components to be optimal and class leading. And the next vehicle that needs to be developed you don't need to re-develop that same thing. It carries over, so it's commonality. That takes man hours out of development products. We have the same number of people, but we can now develop more products,' he said.

Carter also mentioned that Toyota is looking to expand its truck lineup, and although there's nothing on sight right now, it's something they're looking at. 'You can expect both of those areas—unibody and body-on-frame—not only for us to stay where we are with the nameplates, but we could potentially expand the nameplates on both sides. We could have unibody SUVs that we don't have represented in the lineup but we could also have an expansion of body-on-frame in the future,' Carter added.

One of those possible lineup expansions we reported recently: Toyota is considering a compact truck to take on the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Fe. But as such growth pertains to body-on-frame vehicles, it could also bring an rugged, FJ Cruiser-sized SUV to the lineup to fill the longstanding gap that model has left behind since it disappeared in 2014.