Toyota has developed a new thermally efficient internal combustion engine that can run on gasoline, synthetic fuel, biodiesel, and hydrogen.

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Toyota Has Developed A New Combustion Engine That Will Fend Off EVs For Years To Come​


  • Toyota has developed a new thermally efficient internal combustion engine that can run on gasoline, synthetic fuel, biodiesel, and hydrogen.
  • New tech has been developed thanks to the company’s involvement in racing with its hydrogen-powered GR Corolla race car.
  • Toyota says it remains committed to developing ICEs.
Toyota has come under fire for being anti-EV and has even been accused of weakening nations’ climate policies through industry advocacy groups. Despite teasing the world with promises of a solid-state battery and introducing its own EVs, the company remains committed to furthering existing tech, with a “multi-pathway approach” to reducing emissions.


Toyota’s goal of carbon neutrality involves not only battery electric vehicles but plug-in hybrids, conventional hybrids, and internal combustion engine cars. The company also remains committed to developing hydrogen technologies.


This furthering of hydrogen tech, it says, has resulted in the creation of a new breed of thermally efficient engines that can run on a variety of fuels, including conventional gasoline, as well as carbon-neutral options such as synthetic e-fuels, biodiesel, and hydrogen.

Racing Heritage

Toyota’s chairman and former CEO, Akio Toyoda, pushed for the development of an H2-powered racing car. Rather than creating a fuel-cell vehicle like the pioneering Mirai, Toyota’s engineers sought a way to make the concept viable in a combustion engine. They settled on the 1.6-liter three-pot engine used in the GR Corolla. The car was later entered successfully in the Super Taikyu Series.


One of the challenges the company faced was balancing thermal efficiency, with hydrogen burning faster and hotter than gasoline. However, using lessons learned from the hydrogen-powered GR Corolla racing car, Toyota’s engineers have cracked how to make these engines even more efficient for the street.

Speaking to Auto News, Chief Technology Officer Hiroki Nakajima said Toyota’s experience in developing the hydrogen racer fed directly into these future production engines. “Hydrogen engine development has really contributed to our deeper understanding of engine heat efficiency. It was a trigger that brought this technology.”

A New Generation Of Engine

Toyota’s engineers claim that, thanks to engineering advances, these new engines can be 10 to 20 percent physically smaller than they are today but, crucially, are more fuel efficient and can produce more power. While the concept can run on a variety of fuels, including hydrogen, the short-term goal is to incorporate these new efficient engines into a hybrid drivetrain.


A 1.5-liter engine with turbo and naturally aspirated configurations has been developed, as well as a 2.0-liter turbocharged version. The new engines will have shorter strokes and less torque. But as they’re designed to work in conjunction with a hybrid system, the electric motors will fill in any gaps. The trade-off, at least with our enthusiast’s cap on, will be fewer revolutions per minute.

Specs are being kept under wraps for now, but the engines will likely start to appear in time for new Euro 7 emissions regulations that require stricter emissions control from gasoline engines. In the long term, the plan will be to develop an engine that runs on carbon-neutral fuels.

Whether this approach will benefit Toyota in the long term remains to be seen. However, one thing is for sure: the Japanese automaker is sticking to its guns and will continue to commit to a future that involves internal combustion engines – whether naysayers like it or not.
 
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