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Hydrogen combustion power trialled for GR Yaris

Experimental Yaris joins Corolla Sport racer in development of G16E-GTS engine


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9 Dec 2021

TOYOTA has unveiled an experimental hydrogen-powered version of its sporty GR Yaris – the concept model has the same powertrain as an experimental hydrogen-powered Corolla Sport that the brand campaigned in this year’s Super Taikyu race series in Japan. 


It is not a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in the same sense as the Toyota Mirai, however. Instead, it’s a combustion-engined model that runs on hydrogen fuel instead of petrol. 


The hydrogen-powered GR Yaris uses the same fuel tanks and refuelling mechanism as the Mirai FCEV. Its modified motor runs on liquid hydrogen fuel, which combusts faster than petrol to offer better responsiveness and “excellent environmental performance”.


The G16E-GTS series engine – a three-cylinder turbocharged unit that displaces 1.6 litres – delivers “almost zero emissions while retaining the acoustic and sensory sensations typical of combustion engines” when it runs on hydrogen fuel, the Aichi-based brand claims. 


Toyota said the model was still in the early stage of conceptual development and that a production model underpinned by the technology was probably a decade away. Toyota began the process of converting the all-aluminium mill for hydrogen power in 2017.


The company did not provide power and torque specifications for the hydrogen-powered GR Yaris but said the Corolla Sport race car’s outputs were equivalent to those “of a petrol-powered engine”. 


The G16E-GTS develops 200kW at 6500rpm and 370Nm from 3000- to 4600rpm. Suffice to say, it is one of the most powerful three-cylinder production engines ever built.


“We’ve taken the first step to compete with and develop our hydrogen-powered engine with the mindset of taking on the challenge,” Toyota Motor Corporation present Akio Toyoda explained. 


“I imagine things will look different ten 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 the 2022 financial year, Toyota will conduct a trial of hydrogen transportation from Australia to Japan using the world’s first liquified hydrogen carrier, the Suiso Frontier. 


The Japanese brand said the transportation and storage of the fuel had proved particularly challenging, but that it aimed to have a large-scale carrier capable of transporting 10,000 tons (9071 tonnes) of hydrogen at a time ready by the middle of the decade. 


By 2030, Toyota plans to transport 225,000 tons (204,116 tonnes) of hydrogen annually from Australia as a full-scale commercial supply chain.


It is estimated that Japan would require a total of 20 million tons (18.2 million tonnes) of hydrogen by 2050. That would not only necessitate the large-scale production of the fuel in that country – vast volumes would have to be imported from countries such as Australia.


The Super Taikyu race series, in which the hydrogen-powered Toyota Corolla Sport competed, aims to “go beyond (current) electrification initiatives to provide greater choice for using internal combustion engines”, Toyota said. 


Entrants including Kawasaki, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota and Yamaha have modified ICE units operating on carbon neutral fuels including biodiesel, hydrogen, and, from next year, a biomass-derived synthetic fuel, which will be used by both Toyota and Subaru.

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