The inexorable increase in sales of electric cars and the ban of petrol and diesel engines from the EU by 2035 seems to seal the imminent end of the internal combustion engine.
However, there is still a little hope for those who don’t want to do without pistons, connecting rods, cylinders, crankshafts and the sound of a big V8 engine. One reason for hope is this new engine introduced and developed by Yamaha for Toyota. It is a hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine: a 5.0-liter V8 with 450 hp.
Toyota turned to a long-time partner, Yamaha, to test the potential of these hydrogen-powered engines, and with it the possibility of using a fuel that “CO2-neutral” promises to be.
The announcement of the new hydrogen-powered V8 engine betrays the enthusiasm that drives those responsible for the project, which started five years ago. Starting with Takeshi Yamada, Head of Vehicle Development Department at Yamaha Technical Research Center: “I am very happy that the project was launched. I was beginning to notice that hydrogen powered engines were a lot of fun.“
“By their very nature, hydrogen-powered engines inspire excitement and are easy to operate without resorting to electronic systems. Everyone who tested the prototype was initially quite perplexed, but eventually got out of the car with a big grin. As I watched the reactions, I began to believe that hydrogen engines actually have tremendous potential. They weren’t simply a substitute for gasoline.“
The hydrogen engine development program has nothing to do with fuel cells. It is part of a broader agreement announced in November 2021 between five companies: Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Subaru Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation, Mazda Motor Corporation and Yamaha Motor.
Yoshihiro Hidaka, President of Yamaha Motor, says: “Hydrogen drives have the potential to reduce CO2-to be neutral while acknowledging our passion for the internal combustion engine. By working with companies from different cultures and with different skills, and by increasing the number of our partners, we want to be present in the world of tomorrow.“
The engine now presented is itself based on the Lexus RC F’s 5.0-litre V8 engine. However, a few changes have been made – for example to the injectors, cylinder head and intake manifold. The block delivers 450 hp at 6,800 rpm and develops a maximum torque of 540 Nm at 3,600 rpm.
For comparison: the same engine running on premium petrol delivers 464 hp at 7,100 rpm and 520 Nm from 4,800 to 5,600 rpm. So power is pretty much the same, while torque is slightly up and coming much sooner. Does that give hope? Definitely!