Toyota has showcased some of the weird and wonderful mobility solutions that will be used during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in its capacity as official vehicle supplier. Ranging from autonomous athlete transport through to electric scooters for one, Toyota has ensured that the fleet covers all the bases, and does so in-line with Tokyo's 'Green Olympics' ethos.
Tokyo 2020's mission from the start has been to make the games the most sustainable in history. For example, solar and bio fuel energy are being used to power venues and the athlete's village. Reducing waste and recycling as much of it as possible is high on the agenda – as is water management. The uniforms are made from recycled clothes and even the medals have been cast from recycled metal.
Transport is obviously one of the big polluters in Olympic events, so Toyota has stepped up to the plate, providing “3700 mobility products and/or vehicles”, with nearly 90 per cent of the official fleet being electrified. And this includes a smorgasbord of electrified variations – hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
Of the 3700 vehicles being made available, approximately 2700 are part of the official fleet that provides transport between venues during the games. Many of these will be commercially available variants and will include around 500 FCEVs and 850 BEVs. Across the fleet, the emissions will average out at around 80g/km of carbon dioxide which, according to Toyota, is half that of a typical fleet of this size.
Here are some of the most intriguing vehicles that we'll see supporting the games...
The APM BEV has been designed and manufactured especially for the Tokyo Olympic Games to provide 'last mile' transportation for visitors, staff and athletes. A relief version of the APM has space for a stretcher and two relief workers, but predominantly it will help those with mobility troubles (i.e. the elderly or disabled) get to venues safely.
The APM has a range of 100km and a top speed of 12mph.
Toyota has commissioned more than a dozen Tokyo 2020 versions of its e-Palette autonomous BEV – or Autono-MaaS as Toyota calls it (autonomous mobility as a service). These will run in a loop around the Olympic and Paralympic Village and have space for 20 people including an operator who monitors the e-Palette, or four wheelchairs and seven passengers including the operator.
The Toyota Concept-i is part of the brand's vision for what a car could be in the future, featuring SAE Level 4 autonomous driving, intelligent AI and personalised user experience. On the outside, its visually intriguing “high-tech, one-motion silhouette” will be seen at the games as the operating vehicle during the Olympic torch relay and the lead car in the marathon events.
Using the Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), the Mirai is Toyota's commercially-available, four-door family car that runs on hydrogen fuel cell technology. Around 500 such cars will be available for staff transport during the games. Its 153bhp electric motor and 400+ mile range should make for a fairly conventional, yet zero emissions (except for water) experience for users.
Perhaps the strangest looking vehicles Toyota is providing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are the 300-or-so personal mobility devices. These three wheel scooters will are designed for use by security and medical staff around various Olympic venues such as the Olympic stadium and Ariake Tennis Park.
As well as standing-type personal mobility devices, Toyota is looking to offer both sitting-types and wheelchair-link units. All units have a quick-swap battery which takes between two and two-and-a-half hours to charge, a range of between six and 13 miles and an adjustable top speed of up to six miles per hour.
An interesting side-note is that Toyota will be aiding games mass transit by providing the latest version of its Sora FCEV bus. This single-decker has numerous safety and driving aids and is one of the most advanced fuel cell-powered passenger transport vehicles on the planet.
Toyota's dedication to supporting the Tokyo Olympic games with innovative and interesting low and zero emissions transport solution is laudable and falls very much in line with the overall ethos of the games. As much as we look forward to the competition, we're also intrigued to see how well the transportation operates and whether it becomes a template for future Olympic events.