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One-on-One with Toyota’s Koichi Nakata

Posted: Thursday, July 29, 2021

In advance of our 2021 Powertrains, Fuels and Lubricants Digital Summit (September 28-30, 2021), keynote presenter, Koichi Nakata, the general manager of Toyota’s advanced powertrain planning & management division, shared some exclusive insight into what led him to a career in advanced powertrain planning, engine thermal efficiency enhancement and future fuels.

What got you first interested in this technology?
When I was a high school student, I was excited about the launch of the space shuttle in the United States. Since then, I have been interested in the source of that power. In Japan, car manufactures have been competing actively with each other on engine technologies, which motivated me to join Toyota. Midway into my career, I started fuel research with oil manufacturers, which shaped my perspective of the fuel industry. Now, I am strongly convinced that the combination of high-thermal efficiency technology and new innovative fuel technology will be required in the future along with the electrification technologies.

What advice do you have for those starting out their careers?
Before starting your career, there are a few aspects to consider as it relates to the fields you want to enter. 

  • One is the maturity of the technology. When I started my career as an engine engineer, there were a lot of things still to be developed. However, as the engine technology matures, expect such advancements as super lean burn technology and zero emission technologies. Maturity changes the focus point.
  • The second point is the changing of the times. From the viewpoint of carbon neutrality, a lot of discussions are being had with considerable goals. From a practicality standpoint, we have to attach weight on time requirements.

To overcome those factors and be successful, I think it is important to be mindful of the challenges and seek the truth. 

What does the future hold for powertrains?
In developed countries, electrification will be a major option for powertrains. On the other hand, in developing countries, I think there will remain a possibility that all types of powertrains will be required, mainly because liquid fuels offer good convenience for mobility.


Register today for PF&L!
Make sure to attend the 2021 Powertrains, Fuels and Lubricants Digital Summit as the meeting will bring together the powertrain industry for discussions on new and emerging powertrain technologies related to engine design, fuels, lubricants, combustion and emissions control for the light-, medium- and heavy-duty automotive segments. Register here