For over three decades, Toyota New Zealand has been at the forefront of the country’s automotive sector — in the sales arena, initially, and eventually in the development of new technologies to help mitigate the effects of climate change. The company has ramped up these initiatives as Japan and New Zealand commemorate 70 years of bilateral relations.

To mark the momentous milestone, signaling New Zealand’s openness to business and encouraging stronger cooperation between the two countries, N.Z. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was recently on a trade mission to Japan, the first since the start of the pandemic. Toyota New Zealand was part of this trade mission; specifically, to advance its efforts towards carbon neutrality by 2050 through showcasing its hydrogen technology advancement and its new mobility initiatives.

Neeraj Lala, CEO of Toyota New Zealand | © TOYOTA NZ
Neeraj Lala, CEO of Toyota New Zealand | © TOYOTA NZ

“PM Ardern’s passion is to restart the economy; but, equally, the New Zealand government is very committed to addressing the climate crisis. Our role as part of the trade delegation group was to promote and advance the opportunities around green hydrogen,” shared Neeraj Lala, CEO of Toyota New Zealand. “We have a passion to support the government and collaborate — private with public sectors — with its push for green hydrogen as a renewable energy asset. There’s an opportunity to really develop a hydrogen economy, both in the domestic and export markets,” he added.

In alignment with these goals, Toyota N.Z. has launched its hydrogen-powered Car Share scheme. Four hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai cars comprise the initial fleet for eight N.Z. companies, in this first-ever commercial application of hydrogen fuel cell technology in the country and will be refueled by green hydrogen supplied by Obayashi  Corp. Additionally, in partnership with Emirates Team New Zealand and trading house Mitsui, Toyota N.Z. has likewise launched the world’s first hydrogen-powered chase boat for the 37th America’s Cup.

“We are broadening our focus from just selling cars to becoming a responsible corporate citizen of New Zealand,” Lala noted. To this end, the company has rolled out the “Citizenship Award,” which focuses on the social impact that Toyota’s stores have in their communities.

“It’s about creating value and social impact within your community; whether you’re promoting sustainability or mobility for all within the local community.”