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Toyota sees hydrogen-burning Corolla Cross as EV replacement

Toyota believes that a hydrogen-burning engine could be a viable alternative to electric vehicles, and it is demonstrating the idea with a prototype version of the Corolla Cross.

On Tuesday, the automaker unveiled the hydrogen-powered Corolla Cross H2 Concept, saying in a press release that the vehicle will begin testing in northern Japan this winter. It did not discuss production time, but said “about 40% on the way to commercialization.”

Toyota is heavily involved in hydrogen fuel cells, but this Corolla Cross has an internal combustion engine — the 1.6-liter turbo-3 taken from the hot hatchback GR Corolla — that burns hydrogen gas in the cylinders instead of the cylinders. gasoline. The engine has a specific hydrogen direct injection system and the car is equipped with a hydrogen tank based on know-how from the Toyota Mirai, but different in that it largely resembles a petrol car. It even has a manual transmission.

Concept Toyota Corolla Cross H2

Concept Toyota Corolla Cross H2

The Corolla Cross prototype incorporates lessons learned from motorsport. Toyota announced early last year that they are developing hydrogen combustion engine for racing carand has since demonstrated them in Japan’s Super Taikyu endurance series and in a non-competitive run at the World Rally Championship (WRC) stage in Belgium.

Over the course of a Super Taikyu season, Toyota claims it has increased horsepower by 24 percent and torque by 33 percent, achieving performance it claims is comparable to gasoline engines. Toyota says it also increased range by 30% and reduced refueling time from about five minutes to a minute and a half.

Before Toyota, BMW was the most notable example of demonstrating hydrogen combustion as a replacement for fuel cell; it made a hydrogen internal combustion version of the 7-Series nearly 20 years ago. While some of that model’s drivability (and range) issues can now be resolved, there’s still a big problem.

Concept Toyota Corolla Cross H2

Concept Toyota Corolla Cross H2

Toyota believes that the combustion of hydrogen “illustrates another possible alternative path to zero emissions.” However, it’s not clear what the automaker means, because the combustion of hydrogen produces several emissions from the exhaust, including nitrous oxide (NOx) – the engine’s core pollutant. Volkswagen diesel scandal.

Toyota argues that the combustion of hydrogen will achieve some reduction in emissions while taking advantage of existing fossil fuel infrastructure and avoiding the environmental problems associated with battery mining. Even if Green hydrogen is ready to scale This decade, as recent analysis predicts, it remains unknown how Toyota can handle exhaust emissions in such a vehicle.

The test car is further proof that Toyota doesn’t plan to put all of its eggs in the battery basket. This week the company also introduced a plug-in hybrid C-HR concept and confirmed that those powertrains still have a future in its lineup. Car manufacturers have Reportedly halted development of EV as it looks at a deeper commitment to battery electric vehicles. But this week’s concepts don’t quite suggest that an increased EV target could be the result.


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