Just a few days after announcing their first full-electric vehicle in the bZ4X SUV, Toyota now unveiled that they’re working on a new hydrogen engine. They’ve also put it to the test in a race car.
Toyota has been using hydrogen as a power source since the launch of their Mirai sedan in 2014. Difference is, while the Mirai uses fuel cells, electricity and hydrogen in order to move, the new engine will directly burn hydrogen.
We’re talking about a 1.6L 3-cylinder turbo combustion engine running on compressed hydrogen. It utilizes modified versions of fuel supply and injection systems used in conventional engines today. The only difference is, with hydrogen being the main element, no carbon dioxide is discharged from the combustion itself.
Toyota said that hydrogen burns quicker than gasoline making the engine more responsive. It will also remove the arcade driving feel that characterizes next-gen cars by having the same thrilling noise and vibrations we’ve been so fond of.
It doesn’t have a name yet but the new hydrogen engine will be tested in a race car based on the Corolla Sport. It will make its debut on May 21 when ORC Rookie Racing competes in the Super Taikyu Series 2021 which is a 24-hour endurance race. Unlike normal racing where it’s finished after a few hours, a 24-hour endurance race will put the engine to the ultimate stress test. Surviving it will mean another reliable power unit that Toyota can adapt for their consumer cars.
Apart from their goal of being carbon neutral by 2050, Toyota is also focused on making the next-generation of mobility cleaner. This hydrogen engine is the latest in their array of alternative power sources that include hybrid, fuel-cell and recently full-electric technologies.