Toyota remains steadfast in its commitment to hydrogen. Although the brand is developing its range of electric cars powered by batteries, it is also investigating the possibility of hydrogen as an alternative fuel, whether it can be used in a battery system powered by this element or directly injected into the engine as if it were a CNG vehicle. The Japanese company is so confident in its technology and in this alternative that it is already used—still in the experimental stage—in all types of products, from Yaris or Corollas to Hilux and Hiace, and is now taking the next step with the impressive Land Cruiser.
This was announced by company executives on the Australian website, CarExpert. Mitsumasa Yamagata, president of Toyota Motor Company’s hydrogen plant, said: “There are possibilities to adapt hydrogen combustion technology to large vehicles, including the Land Cruiser […] This technology has the advantage that it can be used for vehicles with high trailer loads.”
In that sense, our colleagues asked him what type of system would be most suitable, whether an FCEV—electric with a hydrogen fuel cell like the Mirai—or one directly used as fuel, to which Yamagata replied that he would choose the burning of the hydrogen, which is also easier to adapt to the car because it maintains its engine and transmission.
There is even a precedent within the brand itself: the Hydrogen Hiace prototype was recently presented, based on the utility vehicle that will soon begin assembling at the Zárate plant. In this particular unit, the diesel engine has been replaced by the 3.4 biturbo V6 available in the Land Cruiser in some markets, which brings the possibility of the system being installed in an off-road vehicle closer. The only drawback so far is the large loss of power: instead of more than 300 HP running on gasoline, with hydrogen, the engine delivers only 163 HP and 354 Nm of torque, figures that may improve some adjustments.
On the contrary, the brand with its British subsidiary developed the Hilux FCEV, which in this case maintains the stringer chassis but with a series of important changes: it has three hydrogen tanks located between the chassis and the cabin in the center of. the car, an electric motor at the front and another propeller at the rear axle to give it four-wheel drive. At the moment its performance numbers are not known, only a distance of about 580 kilometers is mentioned.