Toyota Corolla Cross H2 Concept: sustainable Hydrogen power, absolutely zero emissions

Vehicle manufacturers the world over are quickly turning to electrification for more sustainable power. This Toyota Corolla Cross, however, is using a different method to help Mother Nature out, and it’s with hydrogen. The H2 Concept is the brand’s way of furthering alternative sources of power and realizing its path towards contributing zero emissions.

Corolla Cross H2 Concept ready for testing

Toyota Corolla Cross H2 Concept Inline 01 Min

Photo: Toyota

Toyota is all about a “multi-technology approach”. To reduce their carbon footprint, battery electric and fuel cell electric, and plug-in hybrid electric and hybrid electric are already part of their portfolio, with the Hilux being one of the latest recipients of hydrogen power. The Corolla Cross H2 will get the same hydrogen tank technology as the Hilux and Mirai, and it’s all set for winter testing in Japan very soon.

Toyota Corolla Cross H2 Concept Inline 02 Min

Photo: Toyota

There’s still an engine, mind you. The heart of the Cross is still a 1.6-liter, 3-cylinder turbo motor but will use hydrogen combustion instead of the usual petrol. This is all the brainchild of the Toyota Rookie Racing Team that fielded another H2 vehicle, the GR Corolla. Through their experience in motorsport, how far has the tech improved?

In the course of just one season, Toyota has increased hydrogen combustion power by 24% and torque by 33%. That was able to pump out figures at par with a normal fuel-powered engine. How else will it benefit the Corolla Cross H2 and others that adopt the technology? The range has been extended by around 30% and refueling time was reduced from approximately five minutes to one and a half minutes. Impressive, isn’t it?

Toyota Corolla Cross H2 Concept Inline 03 Min

Photo: Toyota

The prototype road car is what you see in these photos, and it’s very much real. Toyota went so far as to say that it is “around 40% along the path to commercialization of products such as the Corolla Cross H2 Concept”. But here’s the reality: the technology may still be used primarily for motorsport, for now. Huh?

We mentioned that the hydrogen direct injection engine technology was borne from motorsports, so its future in the world of racing is rather unquestionable. As for it making its way into production road cars, well, that still remains to be seen. Races are controlled environments, and while daily driving may not be as harsh as racing, there’s a bigger concern for safety and reliability for consumer cars. And that will take a lot of research and development.

Still, real-world testing is always a good sign, and the Corolla Cross H2 concept is already showing off a lot of promise, as are the H2 GR Corolla and Hilux. We can always hope that the future can and will have a greener and more eco-friendly path, and with the Corolla Cross making a killing in sales in markets where it’s available, this can sell like hotcakes. That’s if the tech is finally perfected.

Let’s go, Toyota! Do it for Mother Nature!

Mikko Juangco
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