Toyota to Test Hydrogen Combustion Engine in Race Cars, Save Petrolheads From EV Menace

If you thought the environmentally sustainable revolution sweeping the auto industry was going to have a bland soundtrack, your salvation might be at hand thanks to Toyota, of all people. They recently announced they’re ready to test their hydrogen combustion engines in a variety of different cars, including race cars.
Toyota 6 photos
Photo: Toyota
It wouldn’t be the first time the idea of an internal combustion engine powered by hydrogen rather than old-fashioned dino-juice has been thrown around in the industry before. BMW notably also tried their hands with this technology in the late 90s and early 2000s.

These hydrogen BMWs looked, sounded, and drove like normal passenger cars, but the technology was not advanced enough and way too expensive to merit production at that time. Now, two decades later, BMW’s rivals at Toyota believe the technology is finally ready to take the giant leap.

In theory, hydrogen ICE engines operate much the same as a gasoline engine. A pressurized fuel cell is filled with volatile gas, much like a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. From there, the gas is fed to the engine where pistons pressurize the mixture and ignite with a spark to make the power that drives the wheels.

Hydrogen ICE propulsion has a number of advantages over gasoline-powered cars and even electric vehicles. Hydrogen ICE engines operate almost identically to gasoline ICE engines, apart from differences in fuel injection and exhaust systems. It also eliminates the need for heavy, wasteful batteries that often pollute more while being manufactured than they do in the car they’re mounted in.

Unlike gasoline, we’re not likely to run out of hydrogen, as it’s the most abundant element known to science. Toyota also announced it’d begun producing hydrogen fuel at an undisclosed geothermal power station somewhere in southern Japan.

Toyota has yet to announce whether hydrogen combustion technology is expected to arrive in the consumer sphere any time soon. Assuming their new engine can endure the rigors of a race track, chances could be good that, at the very least, its research can continue.
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