It's clear that cars, and the freedom of mobility they provide, are here to stay. The answer to the ecological question, for us, lies in technology and intelligence and, crucially, our long-standing working principle, the Pursuit of Perfection. Each step forward is about elevating driving pleasure while at the same time continuously pursuing ever-greater efficiencies. Our aim, eventually, is for a zero-emissions Lexus — and as a leader in automotive technology, we're in a strong position to realise this ambition. In the meantime, a host of innovations and initiatives such as lightweight engineering, a sophisticated fuel-injection system, 'clean diesel' technology and recycling solutions are playing their part in helping to limit the immediate ecological burden.
The Environment and Hybrid Technology
The most notable example is the Lexus RX Hybrid, the world's first luxury hybrid SUV. Our hybrid technology, a combination of petrol and electric power, greatly reduces emissions, improves fuel economy and, perhaps surprisingly, actually heightens performance and engine responsiveness. What's more, hybrid technology may well provide the perfect platform to create a zero emissions vehicle. The International Energy Agency certainly thinks so. It says that, over the next five to 10 years, hybrid vehicles are, 'the only practical way in which the environmental and energy objectives in the transportation sector can be pursued, especially because hybrid vehicles can easily be adjusted to operate on advanced or alternative fuels such as bio-fuels and natural gas.
It's important to remember, though, that we will make sure that the unique pleasures associated with Lexus ownership are always high on the agenda.
THE CHALLENGE & OUR RESPONSE
Cars produce exhaust emissions, consume raw materials and energy, emit certain harmful substances during manufacturing, and have to be disposed of properly at the end of their lives. Reducing the impact of each of these processes is a key challenge for Lexus.
Life Cycle Assessment
At Lexus, we look at the whole life cycle of a car to help us measure its overall impact in terms of materials, emissions and end-of-life. This Life Cycle Assessment then makes it easier to produce cleaner cars according to clear targets.
All findings from these assessments are kept in a computer database that can be accessed to compare and contrast progress in reaching targets, and confirm the environmental conformity of a new vehicle based on the concept of total Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
Seeking Efficiencies Everywhere
Wherever there's an opportunity for higher efficiency, and reduced environmental impact, Lexus strives to find it. The construction of the cars is one example. Extensive use of aluminium helps to keep weight down which, in turn, improves fuel economy and reduces emissions. Here are just a few more. Our Electronic Power Steering system (EPS) reduces fuel consumption because, unlike conventional systems, it has no need for a hydraulic pump and provides assistance only when you need it. UV-reducing glass prevents heat build-up inside the car and takes the burden off the air conditioning system — and consequently saves energy. And LED (light emitting diode) braking lamps use less energy and last longer than conventional bulbs.
Car power has been a benefit to society for over a century. During this time, car makers have pioneered a variety of technologies, and fine-tuned the internal combustion engine into the high-performance machine we know today. For Lexus, the automobile's future will be dedicated to improving relations between cars and the environment. The goal is to achieve zero emissions and a very high recyclability rate through development of greener, cleaner power systems, and by implementing a practical vision of the vehicle life cycle.
Hybrid Synergy Drive already provides a proven new platform for building cleaner and more fuel-efficient engines while providing an enticing driving experience. And other technologies such as fuel cells promise long-term alternatives for specific applications.
With its effective production methods, leading technology and constant attention to customer requirements, Lexus is developing many solutions to the global challenge of sustainable mobility.