Unlike every auto manufacturer, Toyota doesn’t believe in an entirely electric future. Toyota believes that internal combustion should be carried out in a more environmentally friendly manner through hydrogen combustion. Toyota has been working on prototype automobiles to demonstrate this notion, and one of them, the Corolla, is now mature enough to be evaluated by people outside of Toyota.
The vehicle is a hydrogen-powered, stripped-down GR Corolla. It’s a caged race vehicle and just a concept for hydrogen-powered cars, but it’s complete enough to be driven by two Best Motoring pros, one of whom is Keiichi Tsuchiya, aka Drift King.
The pro took a standard GR Yaris around the course before jumping into the hydrogen-powered Corolla. Both of them liked the Yaris, but the Corolla, on the other hand, is a different story. Tsuchiya is a fan, but Nobuteru Taniguchi didn’t like it.
The Hydrogen Corolla prototype looks, sounds, and drives like a standard stick-shift hot hatchback, but even in race condition, it’s rather heavy—about 3,950 pounds. That’s a lot for such a little car, approaching EV weight levels. To compensate, the vehicle produces more than 300 horsepower, but on track lap time, it’s still in the same ballpark as the regular GR Yaris.
Hydrogen production and infrastructure face a lot of challenges. Some oil firms are engaging in large-scale hydrogen gas production. However, it only becomes truly feasible when powered by low-cost, renewable energy. Even yet, using power directly in EVs would be more efficient.
However, the current status of hydrogen technology should not define our expectations for its future. Toyota’s Corolla is already sprinting around a track and creating tremendous power. Sure, more research is needed, but hydrogen power allows you to bash gears and generate noise while releasing water from the tailpipe.