As part of their multi-technology approach to carbon neutrality, Toyota will shortly begin winter testing a hydrogen combustion prototype in northern Japan. Toyota firmly believes it is too early to focus on a single zero emission solution and is therefore concurrently developing hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen combustion technology alongside battery electric technology.
The results of this approach – which includes battery electric and fuel cell electric and plug-in hybrid electric and hybrid electric vehicles – is the development of a new car powered by a hydrogen combustion engine. The prototype Corolla Cross H2 Concept is practical for daily use with room for five passengers and luggage.
This announcement follows last week’s confirmation that Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMUK) will lead a consortium developing a hydrogen fuel cell version of the world-famous Hilux pick-up at its Burnaston car plant in Derbyshire. Toyota has also competed in all rounds of Japan’s Super Taikyu endurance touring car series this year with a hydrogen combustion GR Corolla H2. And a Toyota hydrogen-engine vehicle has also been driven on public roads for the first time, with a GR Yaris H2 put through its paces on a demonstration run on the Ypres Rally – a round of the 2022 World Rally Championship – in Belgium.
This regular and intense activity has helped accelerate development and technical progress. During one racing season, Toyota has been able to increase hydrogen combustion power by 24 per cent and torque by 33 per cent, achieving a breakthrough that puts dynamic performance on par with a conventional petrol engine.
This technical progress has given Toyota engineers the confidence to create the prototype road car. Powered by the 1.6-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged engine featured in the GR Corolla performance model, re-engineered with high-pressure hydrogen direct injection technology. The Corolla Cross H2 Concept prototype is also fitted with hydrogen fuel tanks, packaged with know-how gained from development of the Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric saloon. Real-world evaluation is being carried out alongside digital development, and the vehicle will soon undergo winter testing in northern Japan.