Toyota built an internal combustion engine that sips hydrogen, and it sounds awesome

Alvin Reyes - Apr 30, 2021, 5:28am CDT
Toyota built an internal combustion engine that sips hydrogen, and it sounds awesome

Japanese auto giant Toyota is working on a new-age hydrogen vehicle. When the words Toyota and Hydrogen are in the same sentence, the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai comes to mind. Still, the Mirai is a hydrogen-electric car or FCEV (fuel-cell electric vehicle). It uses hydrogen fuel to convert electricity and power an onboard electric motor. This time, Toyota came up with something different.

“At the end of last year, we built a prototype that provided that ‘car feeling’ that car lovers love, such as through sound and vibration, even though we were dealing with environmental technology, said Koji Sato, Chief Branding Officer, and Gazoo Racing Company President. “It was only recently that I realized, as one thing led to another, that we could use technologies that we had on hand.”

The car in the video is a Corolla Hatchback fitted with a hydrogen-sipping internal combustion engine. It also has an all-wheel-drive system from the mythical Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch. Based on its exhilarating exhaust sound, you wouldn’t think that hydrogen is at play here, but it is. It not only sounds fantastic, but the exhaust bark is no different from a tuned gasoline-powered vehicle.

Toyota claims the fuel is 100-percent hydrogen with zero gasoline content. With no fossil fuel to burn, Toyota’s innovative hydrogen engine emits nearly no CO2/ However, the car produces a certain amount of noxious gasses as the engine burns hydrogen and oxygen from the air. It’s not a zero-emissions vehicle like an all-electric vehicle (EV) or FCEV, but it significantly emits less toxic substances than a pure gasoline car.

“Toyota has hydrogen-related environmental technology cultivated through the Mirai. It also has safety technology developed through the Yaris WRC,” said Akio Toyoda, CEO and President of Toyota Motor Corporation. “Thinking, as a member of the automobile industry, that it was important for motorsports to create a place where everyone could enjoy themselves even in a carbon-neutral era, I decided we should go with a hydrogen engine.”

You read it right. Toyota is fielding its hydrogen-sipping Toyota Corolla Hatchback in the 2021 Super Taikyu 24 Hour Endurance Series from May 21 to 23, 2021. And since Toyota’s racing car is the only entry with a hydrogen-burning internal combustion engine, the team led by racing driver Hiroaki Ishiura was given some track time to put the car through its paces.

Win or lose; we’re rooting for Toyota on this one. It’s about time that a cleaner-burning gas engine enters the fray, and you get all the sound and vibration of a conventional vehicle without burning a drop of fossil fuel. Let’s go, Toyota!


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