If there’s one automaker that is heavily invested in hydrogen, that would be Toyota. Okay, so almost all automakers have or are dipping their toes into hydrogen, but no other brand is as committed to this fuel source as Toyota. Just recently, they showcased to the world their hydrogen-powered Toyota GR Yaris at a demonstration run during the ninth round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) in Ypres, Belgium.
As a recap, Toyota has two methods of hydrogen propulsion technologies. The one that most people are probably familiar with is the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). This technology utilizes the bonding process of hydrogen with oxygen to generate electricity for the electric motors. Water is then emitted from its system, which makes it a very clean method of vehicle propulsion. This can be seen in the Toyota Mirai.
On the other hand, Toyota also has what they call their hydrogen combustion engine, and this is what’s powering this special Toyota GR Yaris. The technology is as straightforward as it sounds. The engine combusts hydrogen to create power, which means it mostly feels like your typical ICE, from the way it drives to how it sounds. It even keeps the manual transmission as well.
However, while hydrogen combustion engines have excellent environmental performance compared to gas or diesel combustion engines, they still emit NOx. If Toyota manages to solve this, the internal combustion engine could lengthen the life of the internal combustion engine (ICE) amid ever-stricter global emissions regulations.
This is the first time that Toyota has put its hydrogen-powered GR Yaris through its paces. The car was driven by Toyota President Akio Toyoda, who carries the name “Morizo” whenever he gets involved in motorsports. With him in the rally course was former Finnish driver and four-time WRC champion Juha Kankkunen, who once won a world title with Toyota.