Toyota is Ontario’s Green Leader

Toyota has a solid reputation as an environmentally conscious car company. This is due, in part, to the success of brands like the hybrid electric Prius and the fuel-saving Corolla, but the company’s efforts to keep the production process as clean as possible is a major contributor.

Students at mechanic colleges in Ontario will be happy to know that they don’t have to go far to start environmentally-friendly auto careers. That’s because a huge part of Toyota’s global green image is earned right here in Cambridge and just down the 401 in Woodstock.

Environmentally Certified Plants

In 1988, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) opened its first plant in Cambridge, which produced 50,000 vehicles in one year, the same amount of Toyotas consumed by the entire Canadian market. Over the next quarter century, they opened up two more plants in the region, another in Cambridge and one in Woodstock.

Now, two of those sites are certified by Wildlife Habitat Council’s Wildlife at Work program. This initiative rewards voluntary efforts to create, conserve and restore wildlife habitats on corporate lands. These efforts exceed regulatory requirements. Only five other Toyota sites in North America are certified by this program.

In addition to that, the company recently launched an initiative in Cambridge to reduce demand on local and provincial power grids. As part of the $27 million cogeneration project, called the Combined Heat and Power Initiative, Toyota is building a greenhouse to tap the heat being produced and grow vegetables for local non-profit organizations.

In 2011, Toyota’s Ontario plants started revitalizing overall through a project called Project Green Light. This utilized investment from both the provincial and federal government.

The RAV-4 EV and other Eco-Friendly Toyotas

In 2012, the Woodstock plant began assembling the second generation of the RAV-4 EV. This hybrid SUV was built exclusively for the California market in order to meet emission standards required by state law. It was done in partnership with Tesla Motors which added their electric powertrain to the vehicles in California.

It was supposed to be an initial three-year run and it turns out that’s all it will be. Toyota decided not to renew the contract with Tesla. That does not mean that Toyota’s eco-friendly car production in Ontario is finished. Far from it.

Toyota’s best-selling Corolla as well as the stylishly Lexus are still being produced right here in the Cambridge/Woodstock area. Use of the hybrid versions of these and other Toyota models means Canadians will produce 600,000 fewer tonnes of CO2 emissions.

So if you find yourself working as an automotive service technician in the Greater Cambridge area, you can take pride knowing that those eco-friendly Toyotas you find yourself working on were produced locally in a factory that does good for the planet.

Are you satisfied with Toyota’s eco-friendly record in Ontario?

Categories: ATC News, Cambridge

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