With the Corolla Cross Hydrogen Concept, Toyota once again confirms its “neutral” philosophy regarding the decarbonisation of mobility: a multi-technological approach (which includes battery electric and fuel cell, Plug-in Hybrid and Full Hybrid) designed to satisfy the mobility needs of a clientele spread across 170 different countries, each with its own infrastructure.
“Toyota also strongly believes that it is too early to focus on a single zero emission solution and, therefore, is simultaneously developing hydrogen fuel cell technology and hydrogen combustion together with full electric technology,” reads an official statement. . A thought that confirms the ideas of President Akio Toyoda, who is convinced that battery-powered car technology alone is not enough to meet the needs of customers and the environment.
And it was Akio Toyoda himself who got behind the wheel of a hydrogen combustion GR Corolla H2, engaged in the Super Taikyu endurance races in Japan in recent months: so Toyoda, under his pseudonym of master-driver “Morizo”, has personally evaluated the developments of this engine with zero impact connecting rods and pistons. “Over the course of one Super Taikyu season, Toyota was able to increase hydrogen combustion power by 24% and torque by 33%, achieving dynamic performance equal to that of a conventional gasoline engine. Furthermore, autonomy has been extended by approximately 30% and refueling time reduced from approximately five minutes to one and a half minutes”, explains the manufacturer.
It is from this experience that the Corolla Cross H2 Concept was born, powered by the 1.6-litre 3-cylinder turbo engine of the GR Corolla with high-pressure hydrogen direct injection technology, precisely derived from motorsport. Real-world testing activities are underway, alongside digital development, with the car soon to begin winter testing in northern Japan.
“Key benefits of hydrogen combustion include the ability to leverage existing internal combustion engine technologies, fast refueling times, and the clear reduction in the use and need for limited supply elements such as lithium and nickel” needed to build the batteries of electric cars, explains Toyota: “By adapting existing technologies and further leveraging existing investments, the combustion of hydrogen could lead to widespread and accessible emission reduction solutions more quickly. Today, Toyota is about 40 percent of the way to commercializing products like the Corolla Cross H2 Concept. It is not yet possible to say whether the technology will reach the maturity necessary to land on road cars, but there is undoubtedly a clear opportunity in motorsport.