On 22nd April 2021, Toyota Motor Corporation announced the development of a hydrogen engine. According to the company, it is an effective step towards a carbon-neutral mobility society.
According to the vehicle, the engine is installed on a racing vehicle, “will enter in competition under the ORC ROOKIE Racing banner starting with the Super Taikyu Series 2021 Powered by Hankook Round 3 NAPAC Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours Race on May 21-23.”
The race engine is a 1.6-liter three-cylinder, running on compressed hydrogen sourced from the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field. By developing this, Toyota aims to help expand the hydrogen infrastructure and revitalize the Tohoku region’s economy.
Toyota intends to hone its prototype engine, which generates power through the combustion of hydrogen using modified gasoline fuel and injection systems, in motorsport.
Fuel cell electrified vehicles (FCEVs) such as Toyota’s Mirai use a fuel cell in which hydrogen chemically reacts with oxygen in the air to produce electricity that powers an electric motor. However, it must be remembered the Hydrogen engine is different from the FCEVs that some might be confusing it with.
Fuel cell electrified vehicles (FCEVs) such as Toyota’s Mirai use a fuel cell in which hydrogen chemically reacts with oxygen in the air to produce electricity that powers an electric motor. Meanwhile, hydrogen engines generate power through the combustion of hydrogen using fuel supply and injection systems that have been modified from those used with gasoline engines.
“Except for the combustion of engine oil during driving, the OEM’s hydrogen engine will emit zero carbon emissions when in use,” the company announced on its website. The increased combustion rate also allows for more responsiveness. Toyota also believes that hydrogen engines’ noise and vibrations can improve driver engagement.
The hydrogen cars are a viable alternative to electric vehicles such as Tesla and other EVs getting attention around the world.
According to Top-Gear, a famous British vehicle-related series where the host reviews new cars, “While Toyota already builds the Mirai – a fine car, we discovered – hydrogen take-up is challenged by the relative sparsity of charging stations, not least in Britain. Still, if the world’s biggest carmakers are this committed to the technology (Hyundai and Kia are taking big steps too), we might just see more of them about.”
While Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, a leader in EV industry slams the technology as ‘mind-bogglingly stupid,’ and, Chief Engineer of the Marai, a leading FCEV by Toyota said in 2017, “Elon Musk is right — it’s better to charge the electric car directly by plugging in.” But the Toyota executive added that hydrogen is a viable alternative to gasoline.”