Toyota is forging its own path toward the decarbonization of its vehicle fleet, dedicating considerably greater efforts toward hydrogen than many of its competitors. This covers both H2 fuel cells and H2 ICE development. The company has been developing its H2 ICE via a motorsport program but has now revealed a development prototype road car, the Cross H2 Concept.
A variant of the mid-size Corolla SUV, it is powered by the 1.6-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine featured in the GR Corolla performance model, re-engineered with high-pressure hydrogen direct injection technology. The prototype is also fitted with hydrogen fuel tanks, packaged with know-how gained from the development of the Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric saloon. The prototype can accommodate five passengers and their luggage. Real-world evaluation is being carried out alongside digital development, and the vehicle will soon undergo winter testing in northern Japan.
Toyota highlights that the key merits of hydrogen combustion include the ability to leverage existing internal combustion engine technologies, quick refueling times and a clear reduction in the use and need for limited-supply resources such as lithium and nickel. Toyota believes that by adapting existing technologies and leveraging existing investments, hydrogen combustion could lead to widespread, accessible carbon reduction solutions being available sooner.
Toyota claims it is around 40% along the path to the commercialization of products such as the Corolla Cross H2 Concept, though admits that it is not yet possible to say whether the technology will reach maturity for road cars. However, it asserts that there is a clear opportunity to exploit H2 ICE in motorsport.