While much of the focus for green automobiles of the future has been on battery electric vehicles, there are other green alternatives. One of the other major green alternatives is hydrogen, as it produces no emissions when burned. Toyota is one of the few companies to have a production hydrogen-powered vehicle available to purchase.
The automaker recently announced it would enter a hydrogen-powered Corolla in an endurance race. However, the car won’t be powered by a fuel-cell stack. It will be powered by a turbo three-cylinder engine that burns hydrogen. The green power plant will be placed into the Corolla Sport, which is similar to the Corolla Hatchback available in the US.
The engine is a traditional internal combustion engine; only it runs on hydrogen instead of gasoline. Toyota does point out that a negligible amount of lubricating oil will be burned due to the combustion process, but the engine produces zero CO2 emissions. Toyota also notes the engine will have a similar feel and sound compared to an internal combustion engine.
However, since hydrogen combustion is faster, the engine might be more responsive than a traditional gasoline-powered engine. Another interesting point is that the hydrogen fuel used in the racing car is being produced at the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field in Japan. That facility produces hydrogen using a large solar panel array meaning the hydrogen fuel is being produced using renewable sources.
Toyota’s hydrogen-powered racing car will race in Round 3 of the Japan Super Taikyu racing series next month. That event is a 24-hour endurance race held at the Fuji Speedway. Toyota says that it is developing its hydrogen engine using motorsports as a way to contribute to the “realization of a sustainable and prosperous mobility society.”