Toyota pitches hydrogen-burning Corolla Cross as carbon impartial choice

OYAMA, Japan — Toyota is teasing a extra sensible setup of its new hydrogen-burning engine in a car that common individuals would possibly truly purchase sometime: the Corolla Cross subcompact crossover.

With the Yaris and Corolla hatchbacks that Toyota has been tinkering with till now, the hydrogen tanks replenish the again seat, relegating the already cramped automobiles to mere two-seaters.

However within the Corolla Cross, the sizable hydrogen gasoline tanks match beneath the ground, permitting the car to seat 5.

The Corolla Cross H2 Idea is only one of many developments in hydrogen combustion that Toyota Motor Corp. rolled out over the weekend at Fuji Speedway, the place President Akio Toyoda piloted a hydrogen-burning GR Corolla hatchback in a 24-hour endurance race.

His blue-and-yellow No. 32 race automotive has acquired a slew of tweaks since final 12 months’s season — to improve energy, efficiency and reliability. And Toyota additionally unveiled know-how for utilizing liquefied hydrogen, as a substitute of gaseous, to enhance power density and double the driving vary.

The corporate hopes to begin utilizing liquefied hydrogen in precise races by the tip of the 12 months.

Toyota is about 40 p.c of the way in which towards commercializing its hydrogen combustion know-how, stated Koji Sato, head of the carmaker’s hydrogen combustion racing program.

“It’s already a part of the mass manufacturing product growth cycle,” Sato, who additionally leads the Lexus premium model along with the Gazoo Racing motorsports arm, instructed Automotive Information.

The racing and industrial applications work in parallel, with shut cross-pollination, he stated.

“The objective is to commercialize, and we’re making strong progress towards that objective.”

 

Excessive efficiency

A check drive of the hydrogen know-how on the sidelines of the race demonstrated its attraction.

The modified 1.6-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine, mounted in a six-speed handbook GR Yaris H2, tore by way of a fast trial course. Hydrogen burns extra rapidly than gasoline, making the powertrain very responsive.

Maybe too responsive — RPMs rapidly hit the pink line.

The hydrogen three-banger debuted final 12 months. And after a lot refinement, the most recent replace presents higher response, acceleration and torque than its gasoline counterpart, engineers say.

The weekend race within the foothills of Mount Fuji was the most recent salvo in Japan’s marketing campaign to claim to the worldwide auto trade that electrical automobiles aren’t the one highway to carbon neutrality.

The 24-hour run has turn into a type of proving ground-cum-grandstand to showcase that effort.

Japanese automakers are selling different paths to carbon neutrality as a pushback to an trade gone gaga over full EVs. Worldwide carmakers are plowing a whole bunch of billions of {dollars} to leapfrog immediately from gasoline inner combustion to battery-electrics.

Japanese automakers, led by Toyota, are extra circumspect, saying there may be ample room for different applied sciences, together with hybrid drivetrains, carbon impartial fuels and hydrogen setups.

 

Nissan on board

Nissan Motor Co. was the most recent to hitch the bandwagon at Fuji Speedway.

Nissan entered a racing idea of its redesigned, seventh-generation Z sports activities automotive that runs on carbon impartial gasoline, or CNF. The No. 230 blue-and-white Z automotive has a 3.0-liter V-6 turbocharged engine burning biofuel made out of waste akin to wooden chips or used cooking oil.

Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta stated the Z offers a clear, inexperienced technique to protect the joys of engine roar within the coming carbon impartial age and hold conventional race followers coming again to the observe. This enhances, he stated, the silent exhilaration of the all-electric Method E circuit, by which Nissan additionally participates. “Electrification is only a consequence, not a objective in itself,” Gupta stated.

Subaru and Mazda crammed out the carbon impartial discipline in a particular experimental automotive class.

Subaru entered a BRZ sports activities coupe operating on biomass-derived artificial gasoline. Mazda deployed a Mazda2 racer powered by a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-D biodiesel engine.

Price nonetheless stays an enormous hurdle for such carbon impartial fuels. The corporate making Mazda’s biodiesel from used cooking oil and microalgae fats says its prices practically $300 per gallon.

That can probably bar it from neighborhood gasoline pumps for fairly a while.

Mazda’s was the one carbon impartial entry to not end the race. It was carted off the observe not too lengthy earlier than the end. Toyota’s hydrogen GR Corolla accomplished the 24-hour grind for a second 12 months in a row, regardless of an extended in a single day pit cease following a crash.

Toyoda stated it was essential to maintain exploring quite a lot of carbon impartial methods.

“Some assume it is solely about concentrating funding in electrical automobiles. However it’s a business-to-consumer trade. So diversified choices might be obligatory,” Toyoda stated.

“After a 12 months of speaking about this, we’re seeing a change within the dialogue.”

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