Last November, a consortium between Japanese auto and motorcycle powerhouses announced that they will take on the challenge of expanding fuel options through the use of internal combustion engines.

Now, Yamaha is closer to mass-producing an internal combustion engine that is entirely powered by hydrogen.

Hydrogen-powered motorcycles could be a reality very soon image

Based on the 5.0-liter V8 engine found in the Lexus RC F luxury sport coupe, Yamaha Motor was able to develop a running engine that is powered by hydrogen. “We are working toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050,” explained Yamaha Motor president Yoshihiro Hidaka. “At the same time, ‘Motor’ is in our company name and we accordingly have a strong passion for and level of commitment to the internal combustion engine.”

Yamaha Motor has been commissioned by Toyota Motor Corporation to develop engines for automobiles that are fueled entirely by hydrogen.

With modifications made to the injectors, cylinder heads, intake manifold, and more, the engine that Yamaha developed reportedly delivers up to 457 Ps of power at 6,800 rpm and a maximum torque of 540 Nm at 3,600 rpm.

“Hydrogen engines house the potential to be carbon-neutral while keeping our passion for the internal combustion engine alive at the same time,” proclaimed President Hidaka at the venue. “Teaming up with companies with different corporate cultures and areas of expertise as well as growing the number of partners we have is how we want to lead the way into the future.”

What does it mean for motorcycles?

As most of you know, the basic design and principles of automotive and motorcycle engines are practically the same. Fuel is mixed with air and is then fed into the combustion chamber. The piston compresses its fuel-air mixture and ignites it. That ignition then pushes the piston down to spin the crankshaft and that power is then transferred to the transmission, which will then turn the wheel through a propeller or through a chain driver (motorcycle).

Now for motorcycles, all Yamaha has to do is to make everything they did with Toyota’s V8 smaller – small enough to fit a motorcycle – and we will have a hydrogen-powered motorcycle.

Will we see an R1 sportbike that is “H” powered within the next 10 years? If all this research and development continues, this may be highly possible. But first, Yamaha needs to find a way to shrink their hydrogen V8 tech.