Toyota keeps going big on hydrogen power
H2 combustion engine developed on the track
Toyota continues its work on hydrogen vehicles, showing off a hydrogen-burning Corolla Cross crossover as well as announcing it is building a prototype of the Hilux powered by a fuel cell. All part of the company’s planned multi-path approach to reducing automotive emissions.
Now in its second generation, the Toyota Mirai is one of the very few production cars in the world that is powered by a fuel cell. The cell turns hydrogen gas into electricity and that electricity moves the vehicle. It’s a green way to power the car without the need for large battery packs, depending on how the electricity to collect the hydrogen is generated. But hydrogen gas can also be burned directly, also lowering the CO2 emissions of vehicles using mostly conventional drivelines
Toyota’s latest model to show off the hydrogen combustion technology is the Corolla Cross H2 Concept. Powered by a version of the GR Corolla’s 1.6L three-cylinder turbocharged engine (it makes 300 hp in that car on gasoline), the vehicle will inject hydrogen at high pressures into the cylinders instead of gasoline. It has hydrogen fuel tanks stored underneath and can hold five passengers and luggage thanks to packaging lessons learned from the Mirai.
Thanks to the GR Yaris H2 world rally car and a GR Corolla H2 touring car, Toyota has increased the power output of its H2 engine by 24 percent and cut filling times to those of a gas car. At the same time, the driving range has grown.
Toyota says the main benefits of H2 combustion are the ability to use existing engine tech, its quick refueling times, and the reduction of the need for lithium, nickel, and other metals used in EV batteries.
It said the tech is “around 40 percent along the path” to being ready for sale, though said that it’s not yet possible to say if it will ever reach a road car.
The announcement came just days after the development of a fuel cell-powered Hilux pickup was announced. Toyota’s global small pickup, the legendary Hilux, will have its gas engine removed and a fuel cell installed by Toyota UK. With a fuel cell under the hood and three tanks where the driveshaft would live, the truck is powered by an electric motor mounted to the rear axle.