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OYAMA, Japan — Toyota is testing a extra sensible configuration of its new hydrogen engine in a automobile that unusual folks may sooner or later purchase: the Corolla Cross subcompact crossover.

With the Yaris and Corolla hatchbacks that Toyota has been toying with up to now, hydrogen tanks fill the backseat, relegating the already cramped automobiles to mere two-seaters.

However within the Corolla Cross, the massive hydrogen gasoline tanks match underneath the ground, permitting the automobile to seat 5 folks.

The Corolla Cross H2 idea is only one of many hydrogen-burning breakthroughs Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled over the weekend at Fuji Speedway, the place chairman Akio Toyoda piloted a hydrogen-burning GR Corolla hatchback in a 20-minute drag race. 24 hours.

His No. 32 blue and yellow race automobile has acquired a variety of tweaks since final 12 months’s season, to enhance energy, efficiency and reliability. And Toyota additionally launched know-how to make use of liquefied, moderately than gaseous, hydrogen to enhance vitality density and double driving vary.

The corporate hopes to start out utilizing liquefied hydrogen in precise racing by the tip of the 12 months.

Toyota is about 40 p.c of the best way to commercializing its hydrogen-burning know-how, mentioned Koji Sato, head of the automaker’s hydrogen-burning racing program.

“It is already a part of the mass manufacturing product improvement cycle,” mentioned Sato, who additionally heads the premium Lexus model in addition to motorsports arm Gazoo Racing. automotive information.

Racing and industrial applications run in parallel, with shut cross-pollination, he mentioned.

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

Excessive efficiency

A take a look at drive of the hydrogen know-how on the sidelines of the race proved its attraction.

The modified 1.6-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine, fitted to a GR Yaris H2 six-speed handbook, went via a quick take a look at circuit. Hydrogen burns sooner than gasoline, making the powertrain extra responsive.

Maybe too responsive: RPMs shortly attain redline.

The hydrogen tricycle debuted final 12 months. And after a lot refinement, the most recent replace affords higher response, acceleration and torque than its gas-powered counterpart, engineers say.

The weekend race within the foothills of Mount Fuji was the most recent salvo in Japan’s marketing campaign to reassure the worldwide auto trade that electrical automobiles usually are not the one path to carbon neutrality.

The 24-hour race has turn into a form of proving floor and grandstand to showcase that effort.

Japanese automakers are selling different paths to carbon neutrality as a throwback to an trade that is gone full electrical automobile mad. Worldwide automakers are investing tons of of billions of {dollars} to go instantly from gasoline inside combustion to battery electrical.

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

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 automobile that runs on carbon-neutral gasoline, or CNF. The blue and white No. 230 Z automobile has a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine that burns biofuel produced from waste like wooden chips or used cooking oil.

Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta mentioned the Z offers a clear, inexperienced approach to protect the joy of the roar of the engine within the coming carbon-neutral period and get conventional racing followers again on the monitor. This enhances, he mentioned, the quiet pleasure of the all-electric Components E circuit, wherein Nissan additionally participates. “Electrification is only a consequence, not a aim in itself,” Gupta mentioned.

Subaru and Mazda accomplished the carbon-neutral area in a particular class of experimental automobiles.

Subaru entered a BRZ sports activities coupe that runs on artificial gasoline derived from biomass. Mazda fielded a Mazda2 race automobile powered by a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-D biodiesel engine.

Price stays a serious hurdle for these carbon impartial fuels. The corporate that makes Mazda’s biodiesel from used cooking oil and microalgal fats says it prices almost $300 a gallon.

That is prone to get you banned from native fuel pumps for fairly a while.

Mazda was the one carbon impartial entry that didn’t end the race. He was carried off the monitor not lengthy earlier than the end line. Toyota’s hydrogen-powered GR Corolla accomplished the 24-hour grind for the second 12 months in a row, regardless of a prolonged in a single day pit cease after an accident.

Toyoda mentioned it was essential to proceed exploring a wide range of carbon-neutral methods.

“Some suppose that it’s only about concentrating funding in electrical automobiles. However it’s a business-to-consumer trade. Subsequently, will probably be essential to have diversified choices,” Toyoda mentioned.

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

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