Last week, Composites Manufacturing spoke with Paul Williamsen, the national manager at the Lexus College, a Lexus division of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc, about the increased use of composites within Toyota (you can read the interview here). Today, he’s answered a series of follow-up questions about Toyota’s R&D processes and composite manufacturers’ potential to grow or get involved.
What’s your role at Toyota?
I’ve worked for Toyota Motors USA for 21 years and am in charge of the Lexus College. I’m responsible for all education and development for Lexus associates in the U.S., and have developed a number of programs in support of the 2012 Lexus composite LFA supercar. It’s both the flagship car and also an all-composite vehicle, so there are many different training needs for different people in the dealership. I’m one of our top U.S. product specialists for this particular vehicle within the company.
What pressures are driving next gen car advances?
Different automakers feel different pressures depending on what they are about and their role in the marketplace. At Toyota Motor Corporation we recognize that for our continued success we need to explore every possible avenue to minimize the environmental impact of our vehicles. We have been very strong on promoting high fuel economy, low emissions vehicles.
Why is lowering emissions such an important goal for Toyota?
As one of the largest automakers in the world we must be conscious of the impact we have on the environment. Obviously with the wide-scale adoption of our hybrid vehicles and ultra-low emission vehicles we are addressing the operation. We analyze our vehicles across a life-cycle assessment, where we not only look at the energy consumed and the emissions produced during the vehicles operation, but what’s involved in mining and processing materials, machining and assembly, vehicle construction and operation in our factories. After the vehicle is no longer used, we then analyze the end-of-life reuse and recycling. Across a whole lifecycle assessment we make sure that we’re running very efficient and low emissions factories. It’s important to us to know Toyota is a responsible corporate citizen. We believe these efforts are required of us for the stable growth of our business and to continue to allow people to enjoy personal mobility from automobiles the way they do today.
What role do composites play in finding emission reducing solutions?