Yamaha Motor has been commissioned by Toyota to develop a 5.0-liter V8 engine that can run on hydrogen. In Japan, Toyota and other automotive-related companies are about to begin a collaborative effort to expand the range of fuel options for internal combustion engines. Toyota has already been running a hydrogen-adapted GR Yaris engine fitted to one of its Corolla models in the Super Taikyu race series in Japan.
“We are working toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050,” explained Yamaha Motor president Yoshihiro Hidaka. “At the same time, ‘Motor’ is in our company name and we accordingly have a strong passion for and level of commitment to the internal combustion engine.”
In November 2021, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Subaru Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation, Mazda Motor Corporation and Yamaha Motor announced they would begin discussions on collaborative research into expanding the range of fuel options for internal combustion engines in the quest for carbon neutrality.
The engine developed by Yamaha is based on the 5.0-liter unit found in the Lexus RC F luxury sport coupe, with modifications made to the injectors, cylinder heads, intake manifold, among other areas. Yamaha says it delivers up to 450hp at 6,800rpm and a maximum 540Nm of torque of at 3,600rpm.
Yamaha notes it began developing a hydrogen engine for automobiles about five years ago. Takeshi Yamada from the Technical Research & Development Center’s Automotive Development Section and who is a member of the hydrogen engine development team, said he began to sense the depth of potential in the powerplant as the project progressed: “I started to see that engines using only hydrogen for fuel actually had very fun, easy-to-use performance characteristics. Hydrogen engines have an innately friendly feel that makes them easy to use even without resorting to electronic driving aids.
“Everyone who came to test drive the prototype car would start off somewhat skeptical, but emerged from the car with a big smile on their face at the end. As I watched this, I 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.”
Notably, Yamada and the team placed great emphasis during the development process on what is called Kanno Seino, meaning sensual or exhilarating performance. Yamada highlighted an example of this in the harmonic high-frequency exhaust note produced by the engine’s eight-into-one exhaust manifold. “This is a challenge we can sink our teeth into as engineers and I personally want to pursue not just performance but also a new allure for the internal combustion engine that the world has yet to see,” declared Yamada.