Toyota to use Prius parts in SE Asia carts


The Environment Ministry and Toyota Tsusho Corp. have jointly begun a project to reuse parts from hybrid vehicles in Southeast Asia that have reached the end of their product life cycle.

The aim is to reuse the electric parts from hybrids that are scrapped, to provide a means of transportation for tourists and to reduce emissions from vehicles. For example, Toyota’s Prius hybrids will be converted into electric-powered golf carts that will carry tourists to World Heritage sites.

 

The ministry, making this project part of its aid to developing countries, and Toyota Tsusho said they also aim to create jobs in Southeast Asian countries.

Hybrids are powered by both gasoline and electricity. Their electric parts, such as motors and batteries, can withstand at least 1 million kilometers of use, according to Toyota Tsusho.

The bodies of hybrids deteriorate, however, and the vehicles are usually scrapped after running about 200,000 kilometers.

Verification of the project is underway. Electric vehicle parts removed from Prius cars scrapped in Cambodia have been installed in electric-powered golf carts from Japan that would usually be scrapped. The golf carts can accommodate five people. Six such vehicles tour temples in Angkor Wat as electric-powered taxis for tourists.

It is estimated that about 15,000 second-hand Toyota hybrids were exported to Cambodia in 2017. From now on, Toyota Tsusho aims to create jobs locally with plans to teach mechanics at automotive repair shops there how to reuse the parts while also selling the golf carts.

In and around Angkor Wat, 3,000 to 4,000 three-wheeled auto rickshaws called tuk tuks are in service as taxis. But emissions from the tuk tuks contribute to acid rain, which causes such damage as darkening the exteriors of the temple ruins.

 

Thus, local governments and other entities concerned in the country have voiced a desire to replace the tuk tuks with electric vehicles.

The ministry and Toyota Tsusho are also trying to introduce the same project to tourist spots in the Philippines’ Cebu Island and in Laos.

In Cebu Island, parts from Prius cars are installed in transit buses for laborers. Starting this month, the buses began serving residential areas and a shipbuilding yard.

In the town of Luang Prabang, a World Heritage site in Laos, electric golf cart taxis like those in Cambodia are scheduled to begin services in April.

“This model simultaneously serves three purposes: reuse of auto parts, reduction of greenhouse gases and creation of jobs,” a ministry official said. “We hope this project will spread worldwide.”

THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN (JAPAN)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK