It was showcased at Toyota’s annual Kenshiki Forum, where the Japanese automaker strongly reinforced its commitment to the development of the hydrogen powertrain as an alternative to full electrification.
Toyota has been testing hydrogen combustion technology for several months now, using a slightly modified Corolla passenger car – which uses a hydrogen version of the 1.6-liter three-cylinder turbo of the Yaris GR – in the series. Super Taikyu races in Japan.
Hydrogen combustion technology, according to Toyota, allows cars to become zero-emission at a relatively affordable price, as it allows manufacturers to tap into “existing internal combustion engine know-how and investments. manufacture ”.
Using this technology, said Matt Harrison, Toyota CEO for Europe, would allow Toyota to “produce near-zero tailpipe emissions without electrification, but this while still retaining the elements that fans love most about. racing cars – speed and noise ”.
“Music to the ears,” he said, “especially to those of an oil enthusiast.”
The GR Yaris H2 uses the same unit as the Corolla racing car, with minimal modifications from the standard, and has the same refueling equipment as the brand’s Mirai production car.
The subtle mechanical changes are limited to the strengthening of the block (because hydrogen explodes more violently than gasoline), new valve seats and an improved injection system. Powertrain boss Thiebauld Paquet has estimated it will achieve “similar efficiencies” to its unmodified gasoline counterpart, but performance details remain under wraps.
Speaking after the concept reveal, Paquet told Autocar: “When we started it up, we created a bit of vibration and a bit of noise, so it was clear and obvious how it sounds. That was one of the things we wanted to demonstrate: compared to fuel cell technology, which is very quiet, you can still feel that feeling of sport, where you can hear and smell the car.
“First of all, it’s a concept. The idea is to use sport to find out the difficulties and how we can speed up, how we can quickly make improvements in technology.
Toyota has not confirmed the production potential of the GR Yaris H2, but Harrison said the technology means the zero-emission automobile “doesn’t have to be the distant future.”
He said: “The uplifting message from the GR Yaris H2 is this: Even in a zero-emission future, we could still enjoy thrills similar to the ones we enjoy today. “