It’s been about 51 years since the first Toyota Celica rolled off the production line of the Tsutsumi Plant. As per a Japanese media report, Toyota is looking at relaunching its iconic sports car, having discontinued it 15 years ago. Toyota announced in April that it plans to introduce 15 BEVs, including seven bZ models, by 2025. Among those eight models could be a Toyota Celica EV, it is speculated.
A person privy to the planning and development at Toyota informs Japan’s Best Car magazine that Toyota is jointly developing a sports model with Subaru. The Japanese publication says it will be launched as the Toyota Celica in the market. The source left it with an interesting hint, saying that “it (next-gen Celica) may not be an EV.”
Will the next-gen Toyota Celica deploy with a hydrogen-powered combustion engine?
If not batteries and motors, what could the next-gen Toyota Celica use for its propulsion? Maybe we can find the answer in an announcement Toyota made in April. The Japanese automaker is developing a hydrogen engine in its journey to achieving carbon-neutrality by 2050. The company has already made a working hydrogen engine and put it into application in a Toyota Yaris Sport racing car. The compact hatchback has a 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine running on compressed hydrogen.
While the Toyota Mirai is a hydrogen-powered vehicle, it’s an FCEV. The Mirai has a fuel cell stack where hydrogen reacts with oxygen in the air to generate electricity. The output generated from this process is used to power a propulsion motor. In a hydrogen engine, power is generated through the combustion of hydrogen, as you would have in a gasoline-powered car. Toyota uses modified fuel supply and injection systems of petrol engines, and it says that the combustion occurs faster.
On 15 January, Toyota had filed a trademark application for the name Celica. It’s common for automakers to protect names of discontinued models even when revival plans are not approved, but given the rumors swirling out of Japan, could it be related to a potential comeback?
Japanese companies generally aren’t forthcoming on product plans, but there is a chance that a Celica concept could be showcased to gauge the interest of the public before decisions are made on the production, branding, price, and features.
Featured image: Toyota