Toyota is evaluating the possibility of using hydrogen engines as an alternative to total electrification.
The Japanese company recently unveiled a hydrogen-powered Corolla in a 24-hour endurance race at Fuji Speedway in Japan, using a slightly modified version of the turbocharged 1.6-liter GR Yaris three-cylinder engine as part of its testing program. The race car spent a little less than half of the race on the track, and the remaining 12 hours were needed for repairs and hydrogen refueling, but CEO Akio Toyoda declared the race a success.
“We faced a lot of problems, but thanks to the hard efforts of everyone, we finished the race with the car almost at the testing stage. I believe that many conclusions have been drawn because we have prepared the car for this race, “said the top manager.
Toyota’s Hydrogen Powertrain Program is part of its ambitious strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90% by 2050 from 2010 levels. The company already produces one of two production hydrogen-powered passenger cars, the Mirai, but 24-hour endurance tests show that hydrogen cars can use more conventional powertrains instead of dedicated fuel cell electrified units (FCEVs).
Chief Project Engineer Naoyuki Sakamoto hinted at the commercial implications of the program:
“Toyota believes it is our responsibility to provide multiple options for each customer. The goal of this project is to explore new options for the transition to zero carbon emissions. ”
Demonstrating the potential of hydrogen combustion engines in motorsport allows Toyota to “address issues” faster than in traditional production car development cycles, Sakamoto said. Toyota will continue to demonstrate and develop this technology in motorsport to assess its feasibility.