Lexus ROV Hydrogen Buggy Concept Unveiled

Lexus ROV concept

Source: Lexus

Lexus has brought its ROV concept to this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon – a small, two-seat buggy powered by an experimental hydrogen-fuelled combustion engine.

The ROV (Recreational Off-highway Vehicle) features an exposed construction, long-travel suspension, and chunky off-road tyres. It measures 3.1 metres long, 1.7 metres wide and 1.8 metres high.

Being a Lexus, the ROV is about as luxurious as you could expect a buggy to be, with a leather steering wheel, exposed carbon-fibre trim and synthetic leather upholstery on the seats for easy cleaning.

Lexus has yet to confirm any performance specifications, although the vehicle will use a 1.0-litre three-cylinder combustion engine that’s fuelled by hydrogen, fed from a high-pressure storage tank.

Engineers chose to use a combustion engine instead of a fuel cell on the grounds of cost, packaging, weight, and technical complexity. The company claims the decision also means the ROV maintains the “excitement made only possible through the vibrations of an engine-powered vehicle.”

The transmission is a sequential paddle-shift unit with three drivetrain settings. Using a rotary switch on the centre console, the driver can choose to operate in two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive or with the differential locked.

According to Spiros Fotinos, Head of Lexus Europe, the ROV was developed because of the company’s “growing passion for the outdoors and [the] adventurous spirit of luxury customers.” It is also part of its “ongoing research into new technologies that contribute to carbon neutrality”.

While there are no plans to produce the ROV, the company previews a possible extension to its brand. Lexus has a history of taking concepts to the manufacturing level following positive customer feedback.


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19 January 2022

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