Hydrogen is an alternative fuel that a lot of manufacturers have considered in the past, but it seems like Toyota is currently the one championing it as a substitute to battery electric vehicles.
We know that the automaker currently produces the Mirai, a fuel-cell electric vehicle that utilizes hydrogen to generate energy to power its drive motors. It has also been testing an experimental Corolla Sport race car in the Super Taikyu race series. That vehicle uses a 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder G16E engine with a modified fuel supply and injection system to allow hydrogen to be used as fuel.
If this engine sounds familiar to you, this is the same heart that powers the GR Yaris. So, it makes sense for Toyota to put this experimental unit into its tiny hot hatch just to see how well it works in practice. The car looks the same, the only difference being the fuel system which is said to have been derived from the Mirai.
As for performance figures, Toyota is staying mum on exact numbers, but it has this statement:
Hydrogen combusts at a faster rate than petrol, resulting in good responsiveness whilst delivering excellent environmental performance. In addition to being extremely clean, hydrogen combustion has the added potential to relay a fun to drive experience with the acoustic and sensory sensations that characterize internal combustion engines.
So, we can expect the hydrogen powered G16E to make more or less than the 257hp and 360Nm it produces when drinking petrol.
Just like what Porsche and ExxonMobil are doing with their synthetic fuel, the most effective way that Toyota can continue testing its alternative fuels is through the harsh conditions of motorsport, which pushes machines to their limits.
Once it can make the technology practical and cost effective for consumers, we could potentially see hydrogen as a significantly cleaner alternative to regular fuels very soon. Like we’ve said before, it’s good that some manufacturers are looking toward alternatives to battery power.