Toyota plans to test a liquid hydrogen car in endurance races in 2023

Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor Corp plans to enter a car under development that uses liquid hydrogen in endurance races by 2023 as part of efforts to make vehicles powered by the environmentally friendly fuel commercially viable.

While many major automakers are focusing on electric vehicles to meet carbon-neutral goals, Toyota has also invested in the development of a number of technologies, including hydrogen-powered cars, that produce almost no carbon emissions. carbon dioxide when they work.

For automakers, the pressure is on to provide sustainable replacements for gasoline vehicles, which the Japanese government aims to eliminate from new car sales by 2035 as part of its push for a carbon-neutral society by 2050.

By subjecting the liquid hydrogen car to endurance racing, Toyota intends to improve the nascent technology’s functionality and address some of its challenges, including how to keep liquid hydrogen at minus 253C.

Using hydrogen in liquid form instead of its gaseous state would double a car’s mileage and allow for smaller hydrogen filling stations. Liquid hydrogen engines must burn the element as a gas after converting it from a liquid.

In September 2022, the company created a team of about 30 specialists to work on the development of a commercially viable vehicle powered by a hydrogen engine. Among the issues it is tasked with addressing is ensuring that the vehicle can operate in sub-freezing temperatures.

“We have taken a small step from testing the technology to a product that can be mass produced,” said Koji Sato, Toyota’s brand director.

Toyota is not limiting its development efforts solely to on-board liquid hydrogen fuel, choosing instead to pursue a number of different uses, including the potential use of large hydrogen gas tanks in commercial vehicles and liquid hydrogen for tourism

This is partly because liquid fuel would allow vehicle tanks to be more flexible in shape and lighter than hydrogen gas tanks, which are filled at high pressure in cylindrical tanks.

Toyota has already been using endurance racing to accelerate the viability of hydrogen with a car equipped with a hydrogen-powered combustion engine in competitions, with its debut at the 24-hour race at the Fuji International Speedway in the prefecture of Shizuoka in May 2021.

In its inaugural appearance, the specially adapted Toyota Corolla powered by hydrogen gas was piloted by several drivers, including Toyota President Akio Toyoda, and ran for about 11 hours and 54 minutes. During the remaining approximately 12 hours, the vehicle spent about eight hours being repaired and four hours being refueled.

In an endurance race last November, Toyota said it had improved engine power by 24 percent and range by 30 percent. It also managed to reduce cases of abnormal combustion causing engine fires, with cases more than half compared to last March.

The automaker’s liquid hydrogen car began testing at the end of October.


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