H2 offensive: Steam in the combustion chamber at MAHLE & Toyota

H2 offensive: Steam in the combustion chamber at MAHLE & Toyota-chamber

They are steadfast at Toyota, you have to give them that. When it comes to hydrogen, the Japanese simply don’t want to give in – even if they build electric cars with and without plugs. Purely electric, however, only in the coming year with the BZ4X. But they definitely want to think ahead. Because hydrogen could possibly be the more promising type of locomotion compared to the battery. You don’t have to worry about the finite nature of raw materials.

For almost 25 years, the group has also relied on the fuel cell – and the Mirai is no longer smiled at as much as it was in 1997 for the first hybrid Prius. Only Hyundai is driving the technology forward in a similarly consistent manner and now also has the second generation hydrogen car on offer with the Nexo. Mercedes is already out of the GLC F-Cell after the semi-hearted attempt of GLC F-Cell, while BMW – after an episode from the beginning of the 2000s – with the IX5 Hydrogen in the coming year at least in a small series again.

That’s not enough for a breakthrough on a broad front. But at Toyota, they firmly believe in the coexistence of technologies. However, visions of an emission-free future thrive better in three generations of the founding family than in the shadow of the five-year contracts of the usual CEOs. Toyota deliberately released its patents from hydrogen development, says Ferry Franz – as the group representative in Berlin, something like the brand’s top lobbyist. “We want more hydrogen cars to be on the road – and with them more filling stations.”

H2 offensive: Steam in the combustion chamber at MAHLE & Toyota-chamberWolfgang Plank

The existing network in Germany is described as coarse-meshed, not malicious. Hydrogen currently comes from less than 100 pumps – according to various announcements, there should have been a lot more. A network of gas companies and car manufacturers is planning around 400 pillars by 2023. But even that would not even be half of the 1000, which the gas manufacturer Linde lasts at least.

On the other hand: With costs of around one million euros per filling station, the nationwide investment would amount to a good one billion – an amount that the state provided in the form of state aid almost every day at the height of the pandemic. Or to put it another way: Dozens of gas stations would be financed just by not building a single kilometer of motorway anywhere in the country. It is therefore not decisive whether there is a few thousand euros subsidy for the purchase of a hydrogen car, says Franz. Subsidies at the petrol pump also played no role in the end. “It all depends on the infrastructure.”

At Bosch in Stuttgart, it is assumed that in ten years, around 20 percent of all e-cars worldwide will be powered by hydrogen. The invoice is likely to bring the commercial vehicles whose CO2 emissions according to EU specifications must decline by average by average by 2025, by 30 per cent until 2030. And with falling costs, so the forecast, the technology will then be increasingly used in cars.

H2 offensive: Steam in the combustion chamber at MAHLE & Toyota-chamberWolfgang Plank

In a first step possibly even without fuel cell. Anyway, you believe that at MAHLE. The supplier, also located in Stuttgart, – once the cathedral of the piston – has just put into operation a new hydrogen center. Two test benches run in the holy halls. Links works a 60 kW fuel cell, on the right a modified truck engine with 500 hp.

Exactly these thick lenses here is the special focus here. Previously, the one after the self-ignition principle has gested and a bit diesel injected for the better ignition of the hydrogen. But because that – in addition to a few nitrogen oxides from combustion – ensures unwanted emissions, you now use the spark plug idea of the blessed Nikolaus Otto.

Great advantage: one saves the fuel cell, which works a bit more efficient, but also clearly more expensive. And: in direct combustion by injection into the suction tube, the important parts of conventional engines such as crankcase or cylinder head can be used. The high compression usual in dieseling is lowered by trunks to about 12: 1. One of the few changes: instead of the injection nozzle, a spark plug is mounted.

H2 offensive: Steam in the combustion chamber at MAHLE & Toyota-mahleWolfgang Plank

However, special piston rings can not completely prevent tiny portions of the hydrogen mixture under pressure take the way down and escape direction oil pan. Against the risk of explosion therefore, therefore, cleaning air must be blown by the crank mechanism.

The use of such motors can be seen in MAHLE mainly away from the asphalt: in construction sites, tractors, open-sized tippers or combines. In principle, where heavy loads are to be moved at a low speed. Exactly then, the thermal management of the fuel cell becomes a challenge. Incidentally, combustion chamber technology also works in cars. A Toyota prototype – based on the Corolla with a three-cylinder turbo and the four-wheel drive technology of the GR Yaris – is currently taking part in various Japanese long-distance races for test purposes.

And anyone who believes that Mahle has to fight for the ups and downs in the engine out of self-interest – the Stuttgart-based company now earns its money with ultra-fine filters, components for thermal management and system solutions for e-mobility. The business with pistons is seven percent.

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6 thoughts on “H2 offensive: Steam in the combustion chamber at MAHLE & Toyota”

  1. “At Bosch in Stuttgart, it is assumed that in ten years, around 20 percent of all electric cars worldwide will be powered by hydrogen.”

    …at the latest now it is clear to me, it is a “pipe burst” 🙂

  2. At Mahle, they would be well advised to transfer their success with e-bikes to automobiles and offer light, efficient solutions. There is still a lot to get. Mahle is, unlike Bosch, as a company as a company on the right path, but this hydrogen nonsense in land vehicles should be allowed. The construction site is also electrically.

  3. Reliable infrastructure would be nice too. On average, over 10% of all gas stations are not usable.

    The question is where the hydrogen comes from? Steam reformation from methane should actually be banned as fast as it is. Otherwise it is only greenwashing with even negative environmental effect.

    20% of all electric vehicles in 2030 should drive with hydrogen? I’m excited about it. Currently the market does not accept the vehicles. With an average of 40 new FCEV in the month without clarifying upward trend is difficult. 9 new Nexos are currently approved per month. There are currently about. Currently there are about 300 new FCEV VS. 236.000 BEV. Due to the lack of technical reasons compact segment at FCEV, the share will not increase as continuous as with BEV. If VW were to build more e-ups, they would sell like hot cakes.


  4. Oh man, such statements at the end of 2021!
    Battery prices are falling sharply. The BEV will become the main mode of transportation, also for trucks. More and more recognize the advantages of the electric drive and realize that a lot of FUD is operated here and now “Kolben Mahle” wants to operate the petrol engine with H2!

    Let’s do some math. First of all, we produce H2 with an efficiency of 60% from primary energy, i.e. green electricity. Extraction from natural gas cannot be meant.

    The H2 petrol engine has an efficiency of 35%. In the end, this results in an efficiency of 21% based on the green electricity. The BEV manages 90%. This makes the hydrogen engine around 5 times more inefficient than a BEV, or five BEVs or one1 H2-Otto vehicle, whether truck or car, can drive.
    There are still nitrogen oxides which are incurred in the H2 combustion, actually overstable maintenance such as oil change, timing belt, etc., no energy recuperation, etc.

    So if it absolutely has to be H2 (that makes sense if we have more than 70-80% renewable energy in the power grid, since we then often produce a lot of excess electricity), then with fuel cells and not with the H2 Otto engine. Then the efficiency is at least 50% better than with the H2 Otto engine and the BEV advantages are largely retained.

    So I don’t have any shares in Mahle and I don’t buy any. Who actually says that?? The Indians say you should get off a dead horse and not try to keep riding.

  5. Oh my, when you realize the horse you’re riding is dead: DISmount.
    WHAT advantages should hydrogen bring in a narrow car. They act as if the battery technology would stand still.
    Square in the engine compartment (which could also be a frunk) waste, valuable (and expensive see currently) energy to move, driving dynamics of an electric motor with piston technique?
    I stop, all other reasons are well known here…..

    Too expensive (cars AND “fuel”, boring, waste of space and energy, infrastructure will not be created like this (electricity grid is simply cheaper and the water tank is needed somewhere else.

    But Toyota is currently busy praising combustion engines, they just want to save themselves over time because they overslept better..


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