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Toyota is bringing back the Celica name from years past. It was a two-door sporty coupe not marketed as a performance vehicle but as a stylish two-door. Rumors are that Toyota is bringing it back but the real rumor is what will power it, and it is not electric.

Toyota is working on a “hydrogen combustion engine” for the Celica

Future hydrogen-powered combustion engine Celica
Future Toyota Celica design | Bestcar

Toyota is working on a new form of combustion engine that is fueled by hydrogen to make a “hydrogen combustion engine.” The Toyota Mirai is a fuel cell vehicle that uses hydrogen to generate electromechanical power. This hydrogen combustion engine that Toyota is looking at to power the Celica uses hydrogen for combustion.

In some ways, this is a modified version of a regular combustion engine. But the characteristics of this type of engine make it better for constant load use rather than how engines are used in cars. So Toyota has been working on that aspect of the hydrogen combustion engine to overcome its inherent limitations.  

Celica is coming back because Toyota registered “Celica” for a trademark

the original Toyota Celica from 1970
First Toyota Celica | Toyota

Toyota just recently registered “Celica” for a trademark. So, whatever form this two-door takes, know that Toyota is bringing back the Celica model. The folks at the Japanese publication Best Car even supplied a rendering of what this new Celica might look like.

It definitely is low and stylish and goes off in a unique direction. It doesn’t share any visual cues with the Toyota 86 or Supra. The high beltline and low top give it a sports car proportion for sure. 

The first Celica debuted in 1970 and was a styling collaboration between Toyota designers in Japan and the Toyota designers at Calty in Newport Beach, California. It was available as both a coupe and fastback and was Toyota’s take on the Ford Mustang. It was available in various designs until 2006. So it has been 15 years since we last saw a Celica. 

Toyota’s ambitious goal is selling one million EVs and fuel-cell-powered vehicles by 2030

last Toyota Celica from 2006
2006 Celica GT | Toyota

Toyota has already gone on record as wanting to sell one million EVs and fuel-cell-powered vehicles by 2030. As the first with a hybrid system, and then the Mirai hydrogen-powered vehicle, Toyota looks like it is stirring the alternative power market some more. Right now, the only thing limiting the larger adoption of hydrogen power is where to get the fuel.

While the Mirai is a common site in and around Los Angeles, outside of Southern California, hydrogen power is almost non-existent. But whatever apprehension buyers might have with the Mirai could loosen up with a more conventional combustion engine that just happens to use hydrogen. 

Toyota has also stated it will have adopted all-solid-state batteries before 2024. This is somewhat of a technological breakthrough. So it isn’t abandoning EVs with the future Celica, but augmenting its already diverse line of EVs. While it has seemed a little slow in embracing the all-electric vision of other manufacturers, it is quickly getting on board. 


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