Toyota recently set out to develop a new direct-burning hydrogen engine. Consequently, the brand is exploring another branch of the potential pathway for hydrogen propulsion beyond the already established use of fuel cells, as in the case of the new Mirai. The first tests of the new engine have already taken place and we can now listen to it in a short video.
The Japanese automaker is testing the engine in its Corolle Sport racing car, which will soon go into sharp turn in the 24-hour Super Taikyu Series race on the Fuji International Speedway. The car’s shot leaving the pits confirms that even a racer burning hydrogen simply looks like a fit racer.
The hydrogen engine is only three cylinders, more precisely, with a volume of 1,618 cc. In fact, it is a classic piston unit, which, thanks to a modified fuel line and injection system, was able to burn compressed hydrogen in a mixture with air. Aside from burning a minimal amount of engine oil (which also happens with gasoline engines), a hydrogen engine produces zero emissions of carbon dioxide.
The relationship to the regular petrol engine is also confirmed by racing pilot Hiroaki Ishiura behind the wheel of a Corolla hydrogen. “It’s not much of a difference as I originally expected. It behaves like a normal engine. If I didn’t know it, I’d easily think it’s a classic gasoline engine,” Ishiura said after the first horseback ride.
Toyota believes that its many years of experience developing hydrogen vehicles, and current technical means and subsequent testing in motorsport can move hydrogen engine technology even further. This is because engines that burn hydrogen directly never became popular in regular car production. But in the near future, let’s not expect Toyota to produce a hydrogen engine. The automaker has yet to verify whether this branch of development makes sense today.