Innovation at Its Finest With Toyota’s Hydrogen Power
In an attempt to lead the future of automotive clean energy, Japanese automaker Toyota has developed a mid-sized Corolla SUV and Hilux pickup prototype fueled by hydrogen power.
The Corolla SUV prototype can accommodate up to five passengers, and the Helix prototype is modeled after the dimensions of the popular Tacoma. While these models are still in testing, they do give drivers a glimpse into a future that is quickly becoming realized. And while you won’t find these models at your local Toyota dealer anytime soon, we’ve got the scoop on what you can expect if these models do become available.
Understanding Hydrogen Power
In Toyota’s true innovative fashion, the automaker utilizes hydrogen power through a fuel cell that combines hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen to generate electricity. The electricity is generated through a chemical reaction that takes place.
Operating in much the same manner as a traditional combustion engine, this hydrogen power burns hydrogen, emitting water vapors instead of a traditional combustion engine’s carbon dioxide created after burning fuel.
A Glimpse Into Toyota’s Hydrogen-Powered SUV
Toyota’s hydrogen-powered SUV is built on the GR Corolla sports car and converts out the 1.6 L three-cylinder turbocharged engine with high-pressure hydrogen power injectors. Toyota says that with this prototype, approximately the same amount of power is produced as its gas-powered alternative. Additionally, the automaker has implemented a refueling system that cuts refueling time from five minutes to one and a half.
Toyota’s Hydrogen-Powered Pick-Up Truck
The inspiration behind Toyota’s hydrogen-powered pickup comes from the available U.K. model, the Toyota Mirai. Toyota takes the Mirai’s 182 horsepower powertrain and implements it into the U.S. available Hilux pickup truck.
With this integration of power and style, Toyota has installed the fuel cell underneath the hood where the traditional engine would go. Also, there are three hydrogen tanks stored underneath the cabin. Finally, there is a single electric motor behind the hydrogen tanks, powering the rear wheels.
Although a much different powertrain arrangement, the Helix does not change much in style as this prototype is built to the dimensions of the popular Tacoma.
Is the Future Hydrogen Power?
As Toyota continues to innovate, its rival Honda is slightly ahead of the curve with its hydrogen power version of the CRV. The hydrogen fuel cell version of the CRV is set to hit U.S. markets in 2024. Still, the glimpse into these prototypes is certainly enough to put Toyota on the map.
Undoubtedly, as automakers continue to push into the electric vehicle space, hydrogen-fueled power will also vie for a space of its own. Until then, enthusiasts should continue to keep an eye out for the innovations on the road ahead. To learn more about available alternative power options, and experience Toyota’s current line of EVs, visit your local Toyota dealer today.
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