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Toyota joins green wave with Optimal Drive

Date: 04 December 2008   |   Author:

Toyota has become the latest car maker to launch a green brand with the arrival of Optimal Drive.

The firm has gone down the route of BMW's Efficient Dynamics label, where CO2-lowering tech features across the range, not just on one model, as the likes of Ford and VW are doing with Econetic and Bluemotion.

January's all-new Avensis will be the first model to benefit, with elements including low rolling-resistance tyres and low-friction engine technology cutting the popular 126PS 2.0 D-4D diesel's CO2 emissions from 146 to 134g/km. Smaller models from the lower medium Auris down will also benefit from a stop-start system that cuts the engine when the car's idling.

"Optimal Drive is a series of technologies and each model carries different ones depending on what's suitable," Toyota fleet boss Richard Balshaw explained to BusinessCar. "We've not gone down the small wheels and different aerodynamic styling route - this is a standard car with improved performance and CO2."

Balshaw said 85% of the company's range will have Optimal Drive technology introduced during 2009. As well as the upper medium Avensis, the Rav4 and Yaris will have CO2-lowering elements brought in next year when they hit their mid-life updates, while other models including the Auris will be upgraded with new engines.

"The challenge now is we've got to market Optimal Drive, make it tangible and understandable to fleet drivers," said Balshaw.