At first glance, it’s not so hard to spot the differences between the very first Toyota Yaris, produced on 31 January 2001, and the 3 millionth unit that rolled off the conveyer belt at TMMF, Toyota’s plant in Valenciennes, in the north of France. But when you look beyond the surface, you realise there is a lot more to those changes that meet the eye.
Under the hood
The green credentials of the Toyota Yaris have significantly improved over the years. Comparing the first Toyota Yaris with the 3 millionth production milestone, a Yaris Hybrid, shows that both CO2 emission and fuel consumption levels have almost halved, even if weight and power output are up. The drag coefficient, which indirectly contributes to the car’s environmental performance, has improved from 0.30 to 0.286. Even the comparison to today’s petrol (non hybrid) version shows the Yaris engineers have kept up with the trend to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.
Head start thanks to eco design
A car doesn’t only draw its green credentials on the road: the way a car is produced is equally important. From the start TMMF has been designed to leave the smallest environmental footprint possible. In some workshops the storage areas are up to 10 times more compact compared to automotive industry standards with similar production output. Visually, the low building has been discretely integrated in the landscape. In 2007, TMMF was named one of the five sustainable plants of Toyota around the world, making the French plant an industrial benchmark for all other plants of the Toyota Group in terms of environmental performance.
Using 90% less water compared to 2002, making the plant autonomous in industrial water
TMMF has earned this acknowledgement after posting impressive results in water, waste and energy management, year after year. TMMF consumes 90% less industrial water today than in 2002, the first full year of production, and can run without drawing any water from the network – just using rain and recycled water. Sixty percent is rainwater that is collected in the two on-site basins with a combined volume of 16,000m³ and flows through the plant’s water treatment system to meet the required standards before usage in the production process. The remaining 40% is water that is recycled from the plant’s waste water after pre-treatment in the same water treatment system. As the water is processed both before and after usage in the production process, its quality exceeds the environmental norms and excess water can be safely released in the neighbouring river, the Scheldt.
100% waste is transformed, none is sent to landfill
TMMF has always been a plant with zero waste to landfill, but since 2007 it is successfully reclaiming 100% of its waste. Since 2001 any waste is carefully being either reused, recycled or recovered. Industrial oils and paint thinners are collected for reuse or regeneration; steel and aluminium make new raw materials; wood, cardboard and plastic wrappings are being recycled; the small amount of waste that is left is used as an alternative fuel source.
57% energy savings compared to 2002
Even though energy consumption was already at a very low level thanks to the compact building concept, TMMF managed to reduce the energy consumption by 57% compared to 2002 thanks to close monitoring, smart insulation, and saving on lighting to name just a few measures. Moreover, TMMF has been investing in pilot projects for renewables. Two and a half tons of CO2 per year are saved thanks to a photovoltaic membrane on the plant’s roof. Another saving of 18,4 tons of CO2 per year results from a solar wall that heats the outside air flowing into some of the workshops. Most recently, an existing gas boiler has been replaced with a biomass boiler, resulting in CO2 savings in the order of 1285 tons/year.
3 millionth Toyota Yaris for French customer
The 3 millionth unit is a black and white bi-tone Yaris Hybrid that will go to a French customer. 87% of the total production is being exported to 42 destinations (European region in addition to US, Canada and Puerto Rico). Over the last 15 years more than 1 billion euros has been invested in the plant that has been home to the production of the three generations of Toyota Yaris, an equal number of minor changes, a hybrid version since 2012 and a variant for export to North America since 2013.