The Lexus LX debuted recently, giving the large luxury SUV a thorough – and much-needed – makeover for 2022. But it wasn’t the only Lexus vehicle to make an appearance at the event. Near the end of the press conference, Lexus teased something strange – the Lexus Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle Concept, a bronze-coloured buggy that runs on hydrogen.
The concept packs a hydrogen combustion engine that produces only water as a byproduct, which is certainly environmentally friendly. Other details about the ATV remain elusive, though the short video highlights it tackling various terrains, including deep puddles, muddy embankments, and uneven off-road surfaces. We doubt Lexus is getting into the ATV arena, but it is an intriguing concept that’s wrapped in an elegant, agile, and pleasing design.
Gallery: Lexus Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Concept
However, one thing that isn’t really a surprise is the ATV’s hydrogen combustion engine. Toyota showed off a turbocharged 1.6-litre three-cylinder hydrogen engine in a Corolla earlier this year, a tweaked version of the one used in the GR Yaris. It has taken the prototype racing, too. Toyota did have to change the engine’s ignition and fuel delivery systems for it to work with hydrogen, though it operates much like a traditional petrol engine but without the noxious exhaust.
Battery electric vehicles are sweeping the industry, though several automakers continue to research and develop hydrogen-powered ones. BMW showed off the iX5 at this year’s Munich Motor Show, which runs on hydrogen. Hyundai is another automaker investing heavily in the alternative fuel, which wants to popularise the technology over the next 20 years. Daimler and Volvo parented last year to build hydrogen-powered trucks and buses
And then there’s Toyota, which updated the Mirai for 2021 with a bold design and a new platform. There are also rumours that a hydrogen-powered Prius will arrive in 2025, with the three-cylinder engine from the Corolla prototype powering it.