One of the modern pioneers of electrification could bet on a combination of a hydrogen-burning engine and an electric motor powered by compact batteries.
Toyota Prius, first introduced in 1997, has become one of the modern pioneers of electrification and hybridization in the automotive industry. Over time, in addition to the hybrid, the Prius also received a plug-in hybrid powertrain and a relatively interesting and, above all, aerodynamically shaped body.
In short, the carmaker is still trying to attract new customers to the new model, which it is trying to reach in new ways. Obviously, however, he does not want to turn the Prius into a classic electric car, whether battery or hydrogen, which would increase its price and make it less accessible to the masses. However, there is one interesting alternative.
According to Forbes magazine, Toyota could introduce the fifth generation of the Prius model next year. A year later, the carmaker could introduce an unusual plug-in hybrid, which can be equipped with a hydrogen-burning engine in combination with an electric motor. The Japanese website Best Car Web came up with similar information, but according to us, we will not see a hydrogen plug-in hybrid until 2025 at the earliest.
To clarify, let’s add that the hydrogen-burning engine was introduced by Toyota in a modified Corolle race. At that time, it was a 1.6-liter three-cylinder from the GR Yaris model, which received a modified fuel line and three carbon tanks. Except for modifications to the fuel system, however, the engine was to remain more or less in series condition.
The new technology is still in the development phase, but it already promises interesting benefits. Thanks to the rapid combustion of hydrogen (faster than gasoline), the engine should have very fast reactions. In addition, its CO2 emissions are almost zero, but due to the occasional burning of oil, it shows small NOx emissions.
Toyota is currently testing the new engine during endurance racing, and its development is likely to take a few more months. Despite the complications, the car equipped with this engine was able to complete its first race.
If the information of foreign colleagues were confirmed and Toyota actually managed to offer the Prius with a plug-in hybrid device combining a hydrogen-burning engine and an electric motor, the fifth generation of the Prius would probably have achieved another historic success. However, in order for the car to be able to make full use of its hydrogen potential, it will be necessary to significantly expand the network of hydrogen filling stations.