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Toyota’s developing a new hydrogen engine… by racing it

Racing Corolla’s 3cyl engine paves the way for a potential production version

Toyota is sending its latest hydrogen engine racing in the Super Taikyu Series next month. Not independently of course – it’ll be strapped inside a Corolla hatchback, the aim being to develop a next-generation clean engine.

Because - of course - the intense pressure of competitive motor car racing is rather handy at driving creativity. Toyota says it is developing this new hydrogen engine “in an effort to move towards a carbon-neutral mobility society”.

The race engine is a 1.6-litre three-cylinder, running on compressed hydrogen sourced from the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field. Toyota aims to not only help expand the hydrogen infrastructure, but also revitalise Tohoku region’s economy.

While Toyota already builds the Mirai – a fine car, we discovered – hydrogen take-up is challenged by the relative sparsity of charging stations, not least in Britain. Still, if the world’s biggest carmakers are this committed to the technology (Hyundai and Kia are taking big steps too), we might just see more of them about.

First things first though: racing. “By honing its prototype hydrogen engine in the harsh environment of motorsports, Toyota aims to contribute to the realisation of a sustainable and prosperous mobility society,” we’re told. Are you rooting for them?

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