Forget diesel, gasoline, electric or even hybrid vehicles – according to Toyota, the future of powertrains lays in a whole new type of engine.
And aside from the benefits for the planet and reducing fuel emissions – the best part is the sheer power behind it.
Behold: the hydrogen engine from Toyota.
The prototype was produced by leading mobility technology company, AVL Racetech in collaboration with Hungarian HUMDA Lab.
A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine boasting 405 HP and 500 Nm (368 lb-ft) of torque.
This is delivered at 6,500 revolutions and 3,000 and 4,000 rpm.
That corresponds with a mean pressure (BMEP) of 32 bar.
Hydrogen combustion engines (H₂-ICE) have long been known for low performance figures and lean-burn.
AVL Racetech set out to banish that “preconception”.
The engine can reach competitive highs of 205 HP per liter (150 kW per liter) – that’s even more than the Bugatti Chiron at 185 HP per liter.
Pretty impressive stuff.
It was put through its paces on the testbed and confirmed the top values calculated previously in simulations.
This is made possible by an intelligent PFI water injection to moderate combustion and prevent engine damage.
It works by the system introducing water into the intake air, which improves pressure levels.
It also reduces the temperature of the combustion chamber as it evaporates.
The air-fuel ratio (lambda) is 1 (stoichiometric combustion), meaning it is no longer in the lean range.
The air demand, which is lower than during lean combustion, is covered by using a wastegate turbocharger designed for that sole purpose.
It differs from hydrogen combustion in a fuel-cell vehicle, which works like a traditional engine using hydrogen instead of gasoline.
Meanwhile, this next-gen engine converts hydrogen into electrical energy to power an electric motor.
“At the end of 2022, we announced for the first time that we would be working on a two-liter, hydrogen-powered racing engine with stoichiometric combustion and PFI water injection,” project leader Paul Kapus, Manager Development Spark Ignited Engines, said.
“Our goals were 500 Nm of torque and an output of up to 300 kW (specific output 150 kW/l). We are proud to have been able to validate those figures on the testbed.”
It looks sent to revolutionise the world of motorsport as the next milestone on the road to a zero-emission future.
“The results achieved by our H₂ racing engine confirm that we are able to deliver an extremely competitive package with this technology,” Ellen Lohr, director of Motorsport AVL, said.
“The goal of AVL Racetech is to lead motorsport into a sustainable future.
“With the development of the first racing engine developed under our own name – a high-performance H₂-ICE – we have taken another step closer to achieving this vision.”
The next step: testing the new engine concept on the racetrack.