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Toyota unveils prototype car with internal combustion engine that uses hydrogen instead of gasoline

 Until now, the combination of the words "Toyota" and "hydrogen" has been consistently associated with the efforts of the Japanese auto giant to produce vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells. Meanwhile, the company showed off a prototype machine last week that uses a converted internal combustion engine for hydrogen consumption.



As noted by Reuters , the honor of demonstrating the unusual power plant in action fell to the CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation Akio Toyoda (Akio Toyoda). To do this, he donned a race car suit and helmet while driving a prototype on a race track in western Japan. Compact car Yaris tried on an internal combustion engine from the older Corolla model, converted to use hydrogen gas instead of gasoline.

The head of Toyota said during the presentation: “Our enemy is carbon, not combustion engines. We shouldn't focus on just one technology, but use the technologies that we already own. Carbon neutrality doesn't necessarily mean just one choice, but leaves room for several . "

It is reported that the use of internal combustion engines to run on hydrogen will allow for a smoother transition to zero-carbon transport. By itself, this version of the power plant cannot claim to be absolutely environmentally friendly. Together with water vapor, metal particles are emitted from the exhaust system of such a car, which burns when the engine is running, but this type of transport is in any case 50 times safer for the environment than driving on gasoline. Nitric oxide is also a by-product of exhaust in small quantities.

For Toyota, the program for the conversion of internal combustion engines to work on hydrogen can in no small measure become a social project, since in Japan alone, the automotive industry employs almost 5.5 million people, and now the industry is heavily dependent on the production of internal combustion engines. Even those who have announced an aggressive move to electric vehicles are seriously concerned about employment in the transformation of the production system.

Questions are raised not only by the technical side of using internal combustion engines for operation on hydrogen. In the same prototype on the Toyota Yaris chassis, hydrogen cylinders occupied not only the entire trunk (initially rather modest), but also the space of the rear row of seats to the very ceiling. The cost of such a power plant has not yet been specified. On the other hand, it has not yet been possible to produce hydrogen at a reasonable price on an industrial scale, and this energy carrier cannot compete with hydrocarbon fuel purely economically.

In fact, in Japan itself, it was planned to build 160 gas stations offering hydrogen by the end of March, and by the end of August, only 154 of them had been built. On the other hand, in comparison with battery electric vehicles, hydrogen vehicles should replenish the range much faster, and the load on the power system becomes too great during the rapid transition to electric traction. While the world's largest automaker considers it possible to offer its own alternatives to the general electrification, Toyota was forced to announce that it will release at least 15 models of electric vehicles by 2025.

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