Toyota has developed a zero-emission combustion engine that can compete with electric cars. But the new driving technology has several catches.
Cologne – The electric motor is an environmentally friendly alternative to the combustion engine. Fuel cells are also being trialled on a small scale. These vehicles have an electric motor, a hydrogen tank and a fuel cell installed, which generates electricity for driving while driving.
However, Toyota has been working on alternative drive technology for some time. This is a modified internal combustion engine that uses hydrogen as fuel instead of gasoline or diesel. The prototype of a hydrogen-powered car is the Corolla Cross H2 concept. Since the combustion of hydrogen produces only water vapor and heat, which are used to generate energy, the car is emissions-free and therefore environmentally friendly.
The Toyota SUV runs on hydrogen: the refueling time is much shorter than that of electric cars
The compact SUV is powered by a three-cylinder turbo engine with high-pressure direct injection. The same drive is also used in the GR Yaris H2 and GR Corolla H2 motorsport models. The efficiency must be 45 percent, which means that 45 percent of the hydrogen energy is converted into mechanical energy. Despite the hydrogen tanks, the vehicle should provide space for up to five people and their luggage.
Toyota points to lower investments and technical modifications as advantages of hydrogen propulsion, which could lead to a faster spread of emission-free mobility. In addition, less raw materials such as lithium and nickel will be needed. Compared to electric cars, refueling times are also much shorter.
Toyota SUV: New charging infrastructure must be created
But the hydrogen engine also has downsides. As with e-fuels, H2 cars only operate cleanly if the hydrogen is sourced from renewable energies. But so-called green hydrogen is rare; Until now, a large portion of the hydrogen used in the European Union comes from coal and gas.
In addition, new infrastructure will have to be built. A comprehensive network of hydrogen filling stations must be created to make the technology interesting for drivers. Given the slow pace of development of e-charging infrastructure in Germany, this does not seem possible in the long term.
Eventually, major automakers like Volkswagen and BMW will have to cooperate as well. But they are currently developing high-speed electric models. It remains to be seen whether there is the capacity and money to implement the additional drive technology.
Japanese hydrogen SUV: even Toyota doubts a breakthrough
The hydrogen engine is efficient and delivers high performance with low fuel consumption. But Toyota itself doubts whether the drive technology will be a complete success. It is still unclear whether this concept will be ready for serial production. The Japanese automaker estimates the marketing opportunity at about 40 percent.
Meanwhile, employees at Tesla in Gruenheide head to the barricades. The main driver is IG Metall.
“Tv expert. Hardcore creator. Extreme music fan. Lifelong twitter geek. Certified travel enthusiast. Baconaholic. Pop culture nerd. Reader. Freelance student.”