How Toyota makes autos for Paralympic athletes | EUROtoday

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Dince the blue sky, the nice and cozy solar bathes in its mild what in 1971 was the primary Toyota manufacturing unit in Europe: the Toyota Caetano manufacturing unit within the Portuguese municipality of Ovar, positioned south of Porto. It is right here that we discover the meeting line for the Land Cruiser, one of the emblematic autos of the Japanese model, exported specifically to South Africa. “Portuguese entrepreneur Salvador Fernandes Caetano was a pioneer. After building a bus body factory, he left for Japan in 1946 where he established relationships with the Toyoda family at the head of Toyota. In 1968, it thus became the exclusive distributor of the Japanese group and the only one in which Toyota agreed not to hold 100% of the capital,” says Rita Doria, head of promoting, innovation and buyer expertise at Toyota Caetano Portugal. .

In Ovar, employees nonetheless know easy methods to work by hand, with out machines. You don't come throughout AVGs, these small self-guided robots which might be progressively changing employees for sure repetitive duties in probably the most fashionable vehicle factories on the planet. People unpack by hand the spare elements of packages acquired from Japan, weld, drill and screw themselves. This guide know-how satisfied Toyota to fabricate a brand new mannequin right here that it has tailored for athletes and guests with disabilities, the Accessible People Move or APM. Worldwide associate of the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, the Japanese producer is supplying 250 APMs for Paris 2024. These autos will specifically facilitate the journey of Paralympic athletes and spectators with bodily disabilities or strolling difficulties, significantly these in wheelchairs. They can even be used to move emergency help and small hundreds to the Games websites.

origami roof

“This plant has many advantages, including the fact that we can reuse the paint booth to accommodate the metal interior of the vehicle,” explains Stijn Peeters, Head of New Mobility Projects at Toyota Motor Europe. Feedback from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games helped enhance the design and ergonomics of the automobile. The venture was to make a mannequin that was as versatile as doable, i.e. capable of transport wheelchairs in addition to pallets of kit. In Brussels, Toyota’s places of work designed a posh chassis that needed to be manufactured in Portugal. It contains a number of hundred welds and 600 completely different elements. “We needed an open and solid structure in metal,” continues Stijn Peeters. The design of the APM’s roof refers to a method of origami, the artwork of paper folding from Japan.

Curtains have been added to guard the cabin from the (possible) Parisian rain. The entrance suspension was borrowed from the model's Aygo Cross SUV. In the cabin, two wheelchairs will be positioned. To get them up, an entry ramp needed to be added. “Made of aluminum, it is very light. It can be opened very easily thanks to a ball bearing before storing it in a cassette in the floor of the vehicle,” explains António Gomes, APM venture supervisor on the Ovar plant. We examined the ramp: one particular person is sufficient to prolong and retract it. The particular autos are outfitted with an electrical motor equipped by the French gear producer Valeo and Zen 8 Slim electrical batteries manufactured by the Poitiers group Forsee Power. With a variety of 100 kilometers, they will go as much as 25 kilometers per hour and climb the hills of Montmartre, Belleville or Ménilmontant.

Special buses and modern fashions

In its different manufacturing unit in Porto, Toyota has additionally remodeled the inside of Caetano's electrical buses to accommodate a whole wheelchair rugby crew. Six folks in wheelchairs can sit and be secured by seat belts and one other 5 can sit themselves whereas their chairs are folded. They transfer due to a hydrogen gas cell put in on the ceiling. Handcrafted particularly for the Paralympic Games, these non-approved buses profit from an exemption so as to have the ability to journey to all Paris 2024 websites.

To full its Olympic mobility system, Toyota can be offering 250 C+stroll electrical fashions (seated and standing), designed for folks with decreased mobility, and 200 “3e motorized wheel” (Yosh-e).