Toyota president Akio Toyoda believes hydrogen power could be the future of not just the automotive world but the World Rally Championship.
Toyota displayed its vision on last week’s Ypres Rally Belgium when Toyoda demonstrated a hydrogen-powered GR Yaris road car along with four-time World Rally champion Juha Kankkunen.
Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Jari-Matti Latvala has already laid his stake in the ground declaring that he doesn’t believe electric power is a suitable power route for rallying to explore.
Toyoda believes that electrification does have a place in the automotive industry but, like Latvala, he thinks it’s not best suited for rallying and that hydrogen should be the way forward.
“Because for the world issue of automobile industry is carbon neutrality,” Toyoda told select media including DirtFish.
“Carbon neutrality and electrification, we need it. However to build up the automobile industry we have a lot of people who love cars, who love to drive and who love engines who have been doing things with petrol.
“But look at the environmental things, is there any solutions? Wind stations?
“This hydrogen. We use engines. We have sounds. However all the things, the output, is water.
“So this is good for the environment, good fun to drive, why we should do these kind of solutions.”
Toyoda is however aware that when it comes to both electrification and hydrogen power the world isn’t quite ready yet.
More infrastructure needs to be implemented if either of these two options are to be truly viable options for the automotive world.
But if infrastructure can be properly implemented, Toyoda believes hydrogen can be the best way to keep rally fans excited and engaged for many years to come without constantly causing harm to the environment.
“I hope so, but hydrogen or electricity is kind of, we need some infrastructure” Toyoda said when asked if he sees hydrogen power as the future of rallying.
“We have hydrogen station in the only city of Belgium so we need that kind of infrastructure.
“However, if we move this kind of activities, if we continue this kind of activities, all the people feel the same feelings then everybody comes to the one thing then we can make our future together.”
Latvala also believes that having Toyoda’s presence at Ypres Rally, showcasing the hydrogen-powered Yaris, is important for the WRC, and he would like to see a hydrogen car feature on rally stages again in the near future.
“You know when you have Mr Akio Toyoda coming and following the rallies and himself being there, experiencing the stages himself with hydrogen it tells how much he loves motorsport,” explained Latvala.
“And when you have a person like that backing up this program we can be really, really grateful.
“He really enjoyed driving this car with Juha Kankkunen. Also great to have Juha here, and I think also it would be something really exciting for the future, this hydrogen.
“[It] would be a good concept maybe in some years to come to see in motorsport.”