Automakers seem pretty set on making battery-electric vehicles happen. Companies are investing billions of dollars into the electric revolution while governments grease the wheels of innovation with subsidies, tax breaks, and combustion engine bans. Despite all that, there is still intense interest in hydrogen, with AVL revealing a new prototype combustion hydrogen race engine that makes 410 horsepower.
AVL says its new engine concept, which hails from its motorsport division, banishes the idea that hydrogen combustion offers low performance figures and a lean burn. Its 2.0-liter mill features port fuel injection that injects water into the engine’s intake air. This setup eliminates unwanted premature ignition and delivers stoichiometric combustion, where the engine completely burns the fuel – no more lean burn.
Gallery: AVL Turbocharged 2.0-Liter Hydrogen Combustion Engine Concept
The company announced in late 2022 that it was developing the engine. Its goals were to have the power plant make 402 horsepower (300 kilowatts) and 368 pound-feet (500 Newton-meters) of torque. The engine achieved those figures, making 410 hp and 368 lb-ft of twist on a modified engine testbed. It made its max horsepower and torque at 6,500 rpm and 3,000-4,000 rpm, respectively.
AVL developed the first race engine under its own name in cooperation with HUMDA Lab, a Hungarian nonprofit specializing in motorsport research. The company performed detailed simulations before it put an engine on a testbed. Now that that is over, AVL’s next step is to put it into a car and hit the race track to further test the technology’s viability.
It won’t be alone as it evaluates the engine. Two buggies with hydrogen combustion engines will be at the Japan Mobility Show later this month. One is from Yamaha, while the other results from a collaboration between Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, and Kawasaki. Toyota has also created prototype GR Yaris and GR Corolla hot hatches that run on hydrogen, which the company is already testing on the race track.