Toyota testing hydrogen combustion engine technology in race cars
Toyota Motor Corporation on Monday announced that it is testing hydrogen combustion engines in race cars as it looks to use the technology in commercial products in the future. By testing the technology on motorsports first, the company will be able to collect data and will try to fix the issues discovered on-site.
A hydrogen combustion engine is different from vehicles that are powered by hydrogen fuel-cell. While fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen to create electricity, and from electric or hybrid vehicles, hydrogen combustion engines burn hydrogen as fuel instead of gasoline.
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Toyota had earlier announced that it is looking to develop a hydrogen combustion engine, just like Ford Motor and other automakers have also developed. “We want to propose multiple options to meet regional needs," Naoyuki Sakamoto, chief engineer of the hydrogen-powered engine Corolla model, said at a news conference.
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Elaborating on the hydrogen combustion engine project, Sakamoto said that there are still further developments that need to be done on the technology and its so far limited driving range also needs to be addressed. Further, infrastructure for fueling such vehicles is another obstacle that needs to be addressed. However, he did not clarify when the technology will be implemented on a commercial product.
As compared to a regular combustion engine, hydrogen engines require minimal adjustments, except for the fuel piping and injection systems. Moreover, hydrogen is as safe as any other fuel on roads today and hydrogen tanks are made of carbon fiber.
Hydrogen also has advantages over electric vehicles as EV batteries require various minerals while hydrogen is relatively easily available in the environment and can be readily stored and transported. It can also be created from water by electrolysis and can also be converted from solar energy for storage. Also, depending on how widespread such fuel may become, it could be a lot cheaper to fill up a car with hydrogen than gasoline.
(with inputs from the Associated Press)