Bosch tunes a hydrogen engine with 563 HP for this supercar that you should see (and hear) in action
Bosch tunes a hydrogen engine with 563 HP for this supercar that you should see (and hear) in action.
Bosch plans to launch a hydrogen combustion engine in 2024 , culminating work in this field that began in 2016. These engines are seen as a way to achieve zero emissions with slightly adapted conventional-style engines, both for racing and for the street. . In 2023, Bosch and Ligier have already revealed a prototype with a hydrogen combustion engine around a 3.0-liter biturbo V6 block.
Despite the achievements of electric vehicles in the last ten years, hydrogen remains a hot topic for a handful of automakers that have developed and produced commercial fuel cell models. You might guess who we’re talking about: Toyota, BMW and Honda.
And while all three invest in electric vehicles, they also foresee a future where hydrogen fuel cell vehicles of all sizes coexist with battery electric vehicles , playing an important role in the zero emissions ecosystem.
How does a hydrogen engine work?
But those battery-powered vehicles are not the only ones we could see in that bright future. This year at CES, German giant Bosch provided new data on its plans for a different way to use hydrogen to power cars: a hydrogen engine. And it is expected to be ready at the end of this year .
Bosch said in a statement:
The company is also working on the components for a hydrogen engine, which transforms this fuel directly into energy without first converting it into electricity.
“Once fueled with green hydrogen, this engine is virtually carbon neutral” .
One of the last times we saw hydrogen engines in production cars was under the hood of BMW saloons about 20 years ago , when BMW built a small demonstration fleet of 7 Series with engines modified to burn hydrogen.
That prototype, the 750hL, had a V12 capable of running on gasoline or hydrogen , becoming a de facto hybrid car. The hydrogen tank guaranteed a range of 400 km, then allowing the driver to switch to the gasoline tank.
Those BMW experiments, although impressive from an engineering perspective, did not provide unique performance or anything resembling benefits for the average driver . On the contrary, they would have to be forced to look for gasoline and hydrogen refueling stations, as an addition to the costs of an entire BMW 7 Series with a V12 engine.
Of course, this was 25 years ago. Since then internal combustion engines have become more efficient , and some fuel cell vehicles have also appeared on the market.
Hydrogen, to the rescue of sports cars
Bosch Engineering has teamed up with Ligier Automotive to build a prototype based on the Ligier JS2 R racing car , which they unveiled at the centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year. This prototype has a 3.0 biturbo converted to burn hydrogen with a modified injection system that delivers 563 HP of power and 650 Nm of torque.
Of course, the intentions of a racing car with such an engine and something oriented towards efficiency are different. But the experiment showed that high-performance vehicles with combustion engines can be quite respectful of the environment , on and off the track.
Bosch is looking much further than the manufacturers that already offer hydrogen models, towards a future where hydrogen could be much more common and available for refueling in gasoline-hydrogen hybrid vehicles that fill their tanks alongside fuel cell ones. .
Even so, the latter and the electric ones would be their main competitors , at least if the manufacturers that offer them continue to do so while in parallel the number of available hydrogen dispensers increases.
Needless to say, any future involving hydrogen vehicles depends on refueling stations achieving greater coverage than we have seen so far . So things still have to happen before this hydrogen future becomes a reality.