Toyota has shown off a hydrogen-powered GR Yaris concept called the GR Yaris H2 that has the same powertrain as a race car.
The race car in question is the hydrogen-powered Corolla Sport that’s been competing in the Super Taikyu endurance racing series in Japan since May 2021 by the Rookie Racing division of Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Although this GR Yaris concept uses the same fuel source as the fleet-only Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV), the Mirai relies on chemical reaction in its fuel cells to generate energy, whereas the GR Yaris concept has an internal-combustion engine with hydrogen as the fuel.
Powering the hydrogen-powered GR Yaris concept is a 1.6-litre ‘G16E-GTS’ turbocharged inline-three-cylinder engine that’s very similar to the petrol-powered GR Yaris but has a modified fuel supply and injection system for the hydrogen fuel source.
Toyota doesn’t mention what power or torque figures the hydrogen-powered GR Yaris concept makes, nor does it mention how fast it can do the 0-100km/h sprint.
The concept features the same hydrogen fuel tanks and refuelling process as the Mirai.
This GR Yaris concept looks very similar to the regular GR Yaris but has a special blue and white livery explaining how the vehicle isn’t powered by petrol.
It’s also got blanked-out rear-passenger windows that have vents in them that are presumably for cooling.
Toyota says its hydrogen-powered Corolla Sport racer is delivering “almost zero tailpipe emissions” but still retains the noises and thrums that are synonymous with internal-combustion engines.
Hydrogen combusts at a faster rate than petrol, which Toyota has found results in “good responsiveness whilst delivering excellent environmental performance”.
Toyota has been working on this hydrogen combustion-engine technology since 2017 but says it’s “still in the early stages of development and not yet ready for commercialisation”.
The Japanese automaker says it’ll continue developing its hydrogen-powered engine through the harsh lens of motorsport for now.
“We’ve taken the first step to compete with and develop our hydrogen-powered engine with the mindset of taking on the challenge,” said Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation.
“I imagine things will look a little different 10 years from now, and I hope people will look back and see how we took on the challenge with positivity and enjoyed every moment of it.”
In September 2021 it was reported that Toyota is looking to offer hydrogen power in its Corolla and Prius ranges in 2023.
The upcoming Corolla will reportedly have a hydrogen-powered combustion engine that shares the same technology as this GR Yaris concept and the Rookie Racing Corolla Sport.
The upcoming Prius on the other hand will reportedly use hydrogen to power a plug-in hybrid system.
Rather than focusing exclusively on electric vehicles (EVs), Toyota is known for currently offering, exploring and continuously developing a range of hybrid, battery-electric (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric (PHEVs), and hydrogen-powered vehicles.