How does hydrogen-powered race car tech sound?
The Toyota Prius is soldiering on for the 2022 model year with minor updates including a new sinister-looking Nightshade Edition. Having been on the market since 2015, the current Prius is starting to show its age, leaving us wondering when the next-generation model will arrive, but it could be coming sooner than expected. According to a new report by Japan's Best Car Web, the all-new Prius will launch in Japan next December. Allegedly, the next-generation Prius will be offered with a hydrogen-powered combustion engine as well as a traditional hybrid powertrain.
Toyota is no stranger to hydrogen-powered cars. Along with the Hyundai Nexo, the Toyota Mirai is the only mass-produced hydrogen car currently on sale.
The Mirai recently traveled 623 miles on a single tank setting a new world record. Unfortunately, its sales leave a lot to be desired due to its high asking price. Whereas the Mirai is powered by hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen will be used to power the plug-in hybrid system in the new Prius instead of gasoline. Toyota has already showcased this setup in a hydrogen-powered Corolla race car revealed a few months ago that will also enter production.
Apart from minute amounts of burned engine oil, this setup produces almost zero CO2 emissions. Applying it to a popular model like the Prius should help Toyota achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
There is a caveat, however. The Japanese publication claims that it will take several years to apply the Corolla race car's hydrogen technology to the Prius. As a result, the hydrogen-powered Prius PHEV isn't expected to arrive until around 2025.
However, the regular Prius will still get a redesign next year in Japan with a revamped exterior and a familiar plug-in-hybrid powertrain, but it isn't clear when the US version will arrive. After becoming the first mass-produced hybrid, the Prius has the potential to make hydrogen-powered cars more accessible, but significant improvements to hydrogen infrastructures need to be made first.