The world seems to be slowly plugging into electric cars and hybrids, though there are still companies like Toyota that see hydrogen as the true future of fuel. If Toyota wants people to take hydrogen cars seriously though, they’ll have to come up with something more exciting than the awkward-looking and boring Mirai.
How does one make a hydrogen car exciting? Racing, that’s how. Students from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands not only built a hydrogen-powered race car they call Forze VI, but raced it around the legendary Nürburgring as well. In the process, these engineering students set a record for the fastest hydrogen-powered lap around the famous North Loop, though they had no intention of setting any records. With former Formula 1 driver Jan Lammers behind the wheel though, the Forze VI completed the 13-mile loop in just 11 minutes, about a minute faster than any other hydrogen-powered race car.
The vehicle itself is the culmination of at least two and a half years of hard work, carrying about 6.6 lbs of hydrogen stored at about 350 bars/5,000 PSI, which is good for as much as 40 minutes of racing. The electric motor spins out about 107 horsepower, though for this lap the Forze VI only used about half of that, which means there’s the potential for even faster lap times in the future.
Hydrogen race cars are nothing new, but so far they’ve seen limited interest and success on the track. If Toyota is serious about hydrogen as the future of fuel though, maybe the next WEC race car they build should rely on hydrogen, rather than hybrid power. If these students can do it, why not one of the world’s largest automakers?