Toyota‘s hydrogen-fuelled combustion journey has taken another intriguing twist, this time with the introduction of a tweaked 2UR-GSE V8. The 5.0-litre V8, normally found under the bonnet of the Lexus RC F, has been modified by Yamaha to be fuelled by 100 per cent hydrogen.
Yamaha is also no stranger to the RC F’s V8, having originally developed its cylinder heads. For this hydrogen version, the injectors, heads, intake manifold “and more” were modified. It produces 449bhp at 6800rpm, and 398lb ft of torque 3600rpm. Those figures are roughly in line with the original engine.
An important “team value” heeded during development was something called “Kanno Seino,” which means “sensual or exhilarating performance”. That’s why sitting between and above the cylinder banks is a fabulous-looking eight-into-one manifold promising a “harmonic high-frequency exhaust note”. Looks like it belongs in an art gallery, doesn’t it?
The engine is already in a prototype car, although Yamaha isn’t saying what that vehicle is. Takeshi Yamada of Yamaha’s Technical Research & Development Center did at least say that everyone who drove it, including those who were sceptical beforehand, came away smiling. It was then that he: “started to believe that there is actually enormous potential in the characteristics unique to hydrogen engines instead of simply treating it as a substitute for gasoline.”
One of these characteristics is increased response, as hydrogen burns about eight times faster than unleaded petrol. Unfortunately, that means while hydrogen combustion is cleaner (the main waste product being water), you can’t get very far with a tank of it.
For instance, when Toyota raced a hydrogen combustion-powered Corolla in last year’s Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours, it had to pit 35 times despite only racing for 12 hours thanks to mechanical problems and a complex refuelling process.
There are some major hurdles in the way between projects like this ever becoming a production reality. Toyota seems keen to press on regardless, having also converted a GR Yaris (above) to run on hydrogen. We can’t wait to see what weird and brilliant hydrogen thing the company comes up with next.