Toyota Is Working On A Hydrogen-Powered Corolla Cross

Electric Vehicles / 7 Comments

The company is trialing the technology in its popular crossover.

The fast-approaching electric era has coaxed the world's automakers into introducing a slew of electric vehicles that cater to changing legislation and market demands. There are, however, a few companies that remain hesitant to commit to a fully-electric lineup and continue to explore different avenues that lead to an emissions-free future.

One such carmaker is Toyota. Yes, it offers a variety of hybrids and, yes, it has also committed to introducing as many as 16 EVs in the coming years. But that doesn't mean the company is fully on-board with the idea. When asked why Toyota isn't following in Honda's footsteps and aiming for a fully-electric lineup, company director Shigeki Terashi said "it's too early to concentrate on one option."

One of the many ideas Toyota is exploring is hydrogen. The carmaker already offers the Mirai in certain markets and has already demonstrated the alternative fuel's usability in a motorsport setting. Now, the automotive giant is experimenting with hydrogen power in the more conventional Corolla Cross.

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Toyota has set the ball rolling on commercial hydrogen engine vehicles and the Corolla Cross is just one of many test beds. Like the race car seen here, the crossover is powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder engine and is equipped with two compressed gas hydrogen tanks, sited under the floor.

As technology improves on the racetrack, Toyota will continue to make advances in the road car too. There are several challenges facing the company, however. In an attempt to improve the travel range of the Corolla, the team is hard at work attempting to install liquid hydrogen.

This has several benefits. Not only will this bring hydrogen driving distances to an ICE-powered car, but it will also greatly reduce the size of hydrogen filling stations. The reason for this increased range is down to the fact that liquid hydrogen has a higher energy density than its gaseous counterpart.

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2021-2022 Toyota Mirai Driving Front Angle
2021-2022 Toyota Mirai Driving Back View

Together with Yamaha, the company has also been working on a V8-powered hydrogen engine. With 450 horsepower on tap, it has almost all the power of a conventional ICE engine with far fewer pollutants spewing out the tailpipes. This is a massive development and, if successful, could save the combustion engine from its beckoning demise.

The company has also revealed a hydrogen-powered GR Yaris. Toyota isn't alone on this - Porsche continues to work on its synthetic eFuel and Audi has also introduced a sustainable fuel for its V6-powered turbodiesel engines. Remarkably, the hydrotreated vegetable oil reduces CO2 emissions to be reduced by as much as 95% when compared to regular diesel.

Unlike Toyota, Audi sees this as a bridging technology and has said not even sustainable fuel will save the combustion engine. Hopefully, the Germans are wrong on this one - we're placing our hopes on Toyota.

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