The Bidadi plant near Bengaluru has been declared the greenest among 56 plants run globally by Toyota. This achievement is primarily due to the plant sourcing a majority of its energy requirements from renewable sources such as solar and wind energy. At least 56 million units of energy, or 68 per cent of the total 83 million needed every year, come from green sources that are either generated in-house or purchased from an external source.

At second place is Toyota’s factory in northern France which derives 35 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources. The Bidadi factory is now a ‘model plant’ for the company worldwide.

The break-up of the renewable sources that constitute 77 per cent of the total energy consumption for production operations, as of mid-September, is:

  1. Solar inside plant – 4 per cent
  2. Solar plant outside TKM – 38 per cent
  3. Green units purchased – 35 per cent

The high usage of renewable energy was facilitated through the partnership with Gurugram-based renewable energy firm ReNew Power Ventures Ltd. Under an operating-expense model, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) did not incur any capital expenditure but provided ReNew with land to set up solar panels, with an installed capacity of 8.3 MW in two phases, a majority of which was completed in July last year. The company utilises all of the energy generated for its daily requirement of about 38 MW. Any spare amount is sold to the local government. Three other solar plants in Karnataka contribute about 18 MW per day.

Solar panels have an average efficiency of up to 25 per cent of installed capacity and, hence, are critical for the success of the so-called Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, which aims to cut environmental impact in all vehicle-related activities to zero by 2050.

Raju B Ketkale, senior vice-president and director of product design and development, purchases and quality assurance, at Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd, tells CauseBecause that using solar power has benefited the company, as energy costs fell by about 20 per cent in the past year. Unsurprisingly, it now plans to add 7 MW of capacity by the end of 2020, which will take the share of renewable energy to 80 per cent and reach zero-CO2 levels by 2035, as per the company’s mandate.

The company is confident about achieving this with the support of the government, which has made renewable energy costs cheaper than conventional power. It has plans for additional renewable-energy capacity based on the future production-volume forecasts.

While India currently does not have regulation on end-of-life vehicle (ELV) management, TKM has adopted several measures to ensure that its products do not harm the environment when these are at the ELV stage. Among these measures are elimination of substances of concern, a vehicle-dismantling zone inside the plant that ensures minimum environmental impact at every stage, and sourcing raw materials that are free from harmful/hazardous chemicals.

Becoming water-positive and establishing a recycle-based society are also part of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050. In line with this, TKM has established five-year action plans, with the targets broken down to specific areas that form a part of the functional target of the area manager. As claimed, 94.3 per cent of the plant’s water consumption is met through rain water harvesting and recycled water for production operations, while fresh water dependence is 5.7 per cent. On waste disposal, the company uses kaizen ideas to reduce waste sludge such as solar sludge-drying beds, ensuring vendors dispose of waste in the desired manner, and sensitising employees on the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle).