Automotive

Lexus revs up hydrogen engine in wicked ROV off-roader concept

Lexus revs up hydrogen engine ...
Lexus teased the ROV during a previous presentation and revealed it in full this week
Lexus teased the ROV during a previous presentation and revealed it in full this week
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Lexus debuts the ROV Concept in a dark bronze with a removable windscreen
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Lexus debuts the ROV Concept in a dark bronze with a removable windscreen
The ROV features sharp, angry headlights and a subtle, body-color spindle grille area
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The ROV features sharp, angry headlights and a subtle, body-color spindle grille area
The big innovation with the ROV is the use of a 1.0-liter hydrogen engine
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The big innovation with the ROV is the use of a 1.0-liter hydrogen engine
It feels like Lexus could use to rake that windscreen and perhaps pull the front-end a little farther forward to create a more aggressive profile
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It feels like Lexus could use to rake that windscreen and perhaps pull the front-end a little farther forward to create a more aggressive profile
The rear taillights and badging lend to the Lexus look
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The rear taillights and badging lend to the Lexus look
The ROV looks downright angry from head-on, a good thing, in our opinion
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The ROV looks downright angry from head-on, a good thing, in our opinion
The Lexus ROV Concept presents a hypothetical hydrogen alternative to the all-electric side-by-sides that are slowly making their way to market
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The Lexus ROV Concept presents a hypothetical hydrogen alternative to the all-electric side-by-sides that are slowly making their way to market
On the trail in the Lexus ROV
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On the trail in the Lexus ROV
Pushing back to camp before day fades to night
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Pushing back to camp before day fades to night
The smooth body and automotive like upper rear-end give way to the usual bare frame and suspension bits below
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The smooth body and automotive like upper rear-end give way to the usual bare frame and suspension bits below
Putting the ROV through its paces
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Putting the ROV through its paces
Lexus doesn't identify any ROV production plans, but it does seem to be thinking about adding more non-auto adventure and outdoors products
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Lexus doesn't identify any ROV production plans, but it does seem to be thinking about adding more non-auto adventure and outdoors products
The simple "ROV" name stands for Recreational Off-highway Vehicle and plays on the word "rove"
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The simple "ROV" name stands for Recreational Off-highway Vehicle and plays on the word "rove"
Lexus teased the ROV during a previous presentation and revealed it in full this week
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Lexus teased the ROV during a previous presentation and revealed it in full this week
Big nostrils make way for the long-travel suspension
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Big nostrils make way for the long-travel suspension
Lexus promises the ROV releases only a tiny amount of carbon emissions owning to the engine oil burned in combustion
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Lexus promises the ROV releases only a tiny amount of carbon emissions owning to the engine oil burned in combustion
Maxxis Big Horn tires
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Maxxis Big Horn tires
Synthetic leather seats
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Synthetic leather seats
At the leather-wrapped wheel
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At the leather-wrapped wheel
Lexus ROV cockpit
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Lexus ROV cockpit
View gallery - 20 images

As Toyota's luxury arm, Lexus quietly has some of the best posh off-roaders on the market in the new Land Cruiser-based LX600 and the Land Cruiser Prado-based GX460. Still, it's not the first automotive brand name that comes to mind when the topic of off-roading comes up, and it falls right off the list should that conversation drift to off-road powersports. That changes today with the reveal of the all-new ROV concept, an aggressive side-by-side that leaves mostly agitated dust behind thanks to a virtually carbon-free hydrogen combustion engine.

With the Recreational Off-highway Vehicle (ROV) Concept, Lexus presents an intriguing alternative to the all-electric side-by-sides that have started making their way to market. Instead of the hydrogen fuel cell technology for which Toyota has become well-known, Lexus relies on newer, more experimental hydrogen ICE tech.

The rear taillights and badging lend to the Lexus look
The rear taillights and badging lend to the Lexus look

Toyota has been testing and developing hydrogen combustion engine tech through its motorsports program, and the ROV uses a 1.0-liter unit fed by a high-pressure compressed-hydrogen tank. Lexus doesn't pinpoint performance estimates but does say that the fast combustion speed of hydrogen leads to a responsive torque rise off-roaders will appreciate.

Image of a hydrogen engine

Unlike an RC car-quiet electric, the ROV's hydrogen engine carries over a powerful rumble similar to a gas ICE. Lexus promises, however, that engine noise will be refined through its QDR (Quietness, Durability, Reliability) standards, so the driver presumably won't be subjected to noise levels akin to someone dropping a box of running chainsaws on the passenger seat.

Lexus admits that there's a slight amount of carbon released from burned engine oil, but the hydrogen ICE drops CO2 emissions very close to nil. We'd love to get a read on how much range Lexus imagines the ROV getting per fill-up, but the company doesn't yet get that detailed with the concept.

The ROV looks downright angry from head-on, a good thing, in our opinion
The ROV looks downright angry from head-on, a good thing, in our opinion

Lexus isn't looking to reimagine side-by-side styling, the way Tesla might if it grows Cyberquad into ... Cyd-by-Cyd (?). Instead, it tiptoes nimbly across the tightrope between luxury automotive styling and traditional sport side-by-side design. Elements like the deep-bronze paint and angry "L" headlamps definitely separate the ROV from other side-by-side models. Lexus also manages to work in the most tasteful iteration of its spindle grille yet, a smaller, tauter body-color design that doesn't look oversized and out of place the way the production spindle tends to.

The ROV measures 123 x 68 x 71 inches (312 x 173 x 180 cm, L x W x H) and has a less aggressive profile than something like the Polaris RZR Pro R owing to its more upright roll cage geometry.

It feels like Lexus could use to rake that windscreen and perhaps pull the front-end a little farther forward to create a more aggressive profile
It feels like Lexus could use to rake that windscreen and perhaps pull the front-end a little farther forward to create a more aggressive profile

Inside, Lexus gives the ROV a slight touch of luxury with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and in-seat suspension system built to smooth out the bumps and bangs. A simple single-gauge display feeds the driver vital information without unnecessary distraction.

Lexus ROV cockpit
Lexus ROV cockpit

"The Lexus ROV is our response to the growing passion for the outdoors and adventurous spirit of luxury consumers," Lexus Europe chief Spiros Fotinos explains. "As a concept, it fuses our desire to also develop lifestyle-oriented products with our ongoing research into new technologies that contribute to carbon neutrality."

That's about as close as Lexus comes to addressing any potential for production, so for now we'll just have to treat the ROV as a fun, explorative concept that provides a glimpse into the future of alternative-fuel off-roading. But Lexus has put out a yacht before, so perhaps an OHV will prove a small task.

Source: Lexus Europe

View gallery - 20 images
5 comments
5 comments
guzmanchinky
I mean, it does seem very cool, but until Hydrogen refueling becomes common and they vastly improve the efficiency of producing it, this doesn't really make a lot of sense? I would much rather see an all electric UTV from a company as reliable as Lexus/Toyota...
Username
This project is the best argument for electric vehicles!
Spud Murphy
Great, so let's take a fuel that's inefficient to produce and run it through an inefficient engine. Toyota really is still stuck on hydrogen, they need to get over it or they are going to go under in a decade or so. BEVs are the future, and electric off-roaders are already being done: https://newatlas.com/transport/polaris-electric-ranger-xp-kinetic-utv/
Martin Hone
Looks good, but without some sort of mudguard around the wheels, I can't take it seriously as any form of off roader .....
Adrian Pineda
The most efficient and cheapest method for producing hydrogen fuel is with nuclear power. So...........