And it's already lined up for use by Toyota!
From motorcycles to snowmobiles, Yamaha's engineering expertise knows no bounds. The Japanese brand has previously teamed up with carmakers, famously helping Volvo shoehorn a V8 into early S80 and XC90 models. But when it comes to automotive partnerships, Yamaha and Toyota have done some truly incredible work together, from the magnificent V10-powered LFA to the current Lexus IS 500 V8.
But Toyota has contracted Yamaha yet again, this time to create a hydrogen-powered V8 engine. Based on the 5.0-liter engine found in the RC F, modifications have been made to the cylinder heads, intake manifold, injectors, and several other components. Running on hydrogen, it produces 450-horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 398 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm.
First seen in November last year, the V8 engine was unveiled at an event hosted by Toyota, Subaru, Kawasaki, Mazda, and Yamaha, who announced they would conduct research into different fuel options for ICE engines, in the quest for carbon neutrality.
This development has been coming for years, Yamaha beginning work as far back as half a decade ago. Takeshi Yamada of the hydrogen engine development team says the powertrain's potential shone through as the project progressed.
"Everyone who came to test-drive the prototype car would start off somewhat skeptical, but emerged from the car with a big smile on their face at the end. As I watched this, I started to believe that there is actually enormous potential in the characteristics unique to hydrogen engines instead of simply treating it as a substitute for gasoline," he said.
Yamada describes hydrogen engines as fun, with "easy-to-use performance characteristics." This isn't Toyota's first venture into the world of hydrogen. The carmaker currently sells the Mirai as a fuel-cell electric vehicle and races a hydrogen-powered GR Yaris.
While Toyota led the way in the world of electrification with its Prius, the company has been reluctant to introduce fully-electric vehicles, only recently revealing its all-electric SUV, the bZ4X. As the rest of the world's carmakers have seemingly pivoted to battery-powered vehicles, Toyota and a handful of other automakers have remained committed to exploring other avenues for a greener future. While we can see the benefits of electric vehicles, the ability to have a hydrogen-powered V8 with almost zero exhaust pipe emissions is very appealing.
"This is a challenge we can sink our teeth into as engineers and I personally want to pursue not just performance but also a new allure for the internal combustion engine that the world has yet to see," said Yamada.