Toyota commissions Yamaha Motor to develop hydrogen engine

V8 hydrogen engine Yamaha Motor Co. presented in Japan on Saturday, November 13, 2021

Toru Hanai | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Toyota commissioned Yamaha Motor to develop a hydrogen-powered engine, with the latter’s president saying his company is committed to the internal combustion engine.

In an announcement late last week, Yamaha said the 5.0-liter V8 engine will be developed for cars and based on the engine used in the Lexus RC F coupe, with changes made to, among other things, its cylinder heads and injectors. .

According to Yamaha, the unit is capable of delivering as much as 450 horsepower at 6800 rpm. The company said it has been working on a hydrogen-powered car engine for about five years.

Yamaha Motor President Yoshihiro Hidaka said that while his company aimed to be carbon neutral by 2050, it also had “a strong passion and level of commitment to the internal combustion engine.”

“Hydrogen engines have the potential to be carbon neutral while still maintaining our passion for the internal combustion engine,” Hidaka continued.

Last week’s announcement is based on a November 2021 announcement when Yamaha Motor, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Toyota, Subaru and Mazda released details of what they called “the challenge of expanding fuel options to use internal combustion engines.” It was at this announcement that the V8 engine developed for Toyota was shown to the public.

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The idea of ​​powering an internal combustion engine with hydrogen is not new. Toyota has already developed the GR Yaris with a 1.6-liter internal combustion engine and uses hydrogen as fuel.

The GR Yaris uses the same powertrain as the hydrogen-powered Corolla Sport, according to the company. The firm called both of these vehicles “experimental”.

Firms such as BMW also produced vehicles such as the BMW Hydrogen 7. According to the German automaker, the Hydrogen 7 used an internal combustion engine and could run on gasoline or liquid hydrogen. The production of the car began in 2006 and was released in a limited edition.

Using hydrogen to power an internal combustion engine is different from hydrogen fuel cell technology, where gas from a tank is mixed with oxygen to produce electricity. As the US Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center notes, fuel cell vehicles emit “only water vapor and warm air.”

In contrast, hydrogen ICEs produce emissions. “Hydrogen engines emit almost zero trace amounts of CO2… but can produce nitrogen oxides or NOx,” says engine manufacturer Cummins.

Hydrogen ICEs are also “less efficient” compared to fuel cell electric vehicles, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

While the potential of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is buzzing and companies such as Hyundai, BMW and Toyota have developed vehicles based on the technology, others in the industry take a different view.

In June 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted. “fuel cells = fool sells”, addition in July of the same year: “Hydrogen Fool Selling Doesn’t Make Sense.”

In February 2021, the CEO of the German Volkswagen Group also spoke out on the matter. “It’s time for politicians to embrace science.” – Herbert Diess tweeted.

“Green hydrogen is essential for steel production, chemicals, aerospace… and it should not be in cars. Too expensive, inefficient, slow and difficult to deploy and transport. In the end: no hydrogen cars are foreseen.”

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