Toyota have partnered with the Tokyo Olympics to provide transport for the Games, and they’re going electric to do it. From the attendees to athletes, there will be an EV for everyone at Tokyo 2020 — and some of them are pretty weird.
For a company that’s been pushing hybrids since 1997, Toyota have a pretty dicey relationship with electric vehicles. The Prius PHEV only went on sale in 2017 and never made it to Australia. They’ve hung in on hydrogen fuel cell technology despite poor energy efficiency and exploding stations. They’ve yet to release a single EV in Australia despite being the nation’s leading vehicle manufacturer.
But all that might soon come to an end if the latest news from Tokyo is anything to go by. Toyota have partnered with the IOC to provide transport throughout the 2020 Olympic Games, and last week they revealed their plan to make it happen.
ELECTRIFIED TOYOTA LINEUP BY 2025: WHAT WE WANT
Toyota are delivering a massive fleet of 3700 “mobility products” for Tokyo, and they’re planning on almost 90% of them being electrified. This includes 850 all-electric EVs, 500 fuel cell EVs, and a fleet of electric scooters, wheelchairs, and specially-designed transport vehicles.
All this effort is expected to reduce vehicle emissions during the games by half. Staff, athletes, and attendees will use e-mobility in a variety of ways to streamline movement in and around the various venues.
While some models will be familiar to Toyota fans, others will be completely new. Attendees needing mobility assistance can use one of 200 Accessible People Movers (APMs) to travel within venues while staff & athletes travel in the aggressively square-looking e-Palette.
Pictured: the Toyota APM (left) and e-Palette (right)
Toyota will also be placing some of their boldest e-mobility designs centre-stage. The Concept-i will be visible as the operating vehicle for the torch relay and leading vehicle in the Olympic marathon. They’re also anticipating that many of these vehicles will be capable of Level 4 autonomous driving — a massive claim for a company that has yet to add any sophisticated self-driving tech to its cars.
Regardless of who’s driving, all these vehicles, as well as the scooters, e-tricycles and electric wheelchairs promised for the games, should cement EVs’ place as the fleet of choice for major world events going forward. This is a bold move for Toyota and a win for tech and enviro-nerds everywhere.