A new kind of eco-friendly vehicle has taken part in a motor race in Japan. The car was developed by Toyota and has a hydrogen-powered engine. Its race track debut comes as efforts by automakers to achieve carbon neutrality continue to cast a spotlight on electric vehicles.
A 24-hour endurance race kicked off in Shizuoka Prefecture on Saturday.
The hydrogen-powered vehicle was among the participants.
The car gives off little carbon dioxide. That's because its engine burns a mixture of hydrogen and air, instead of gasoline.
It reached a speed of about 200 kilometers per hour as it raced around the track.
Toyoda Akio, the president of Toyota Motor, was behind the wheel. Toyoda said that he hopes this race will show people what a hydrogen-powered and carbon-neutral society will look like in Japan.
Toyota is developing electric vehicles, or EVs. But the company is also examining ways to maintain the expertise and skills it has cultivated in the process of making gasoline engines.
Gas engines consist of about 10,000 parts that are supplied by many manufacturers.
Some fear an abrupt shift to EVs may put those manufacturers in danger.
Toyota is exploring ways to keep using the engines' technologies, while pursuing the goal of achieving a carbon neutral society.
Japanese car company Mazda and German automaker BMW once developed vehicles with hydrogen-powered engines, as well. But those cars are not currently on sale. The high cost of transporting hydrogen and a shortage of filling stations proved to be challenges.
Toyota says its car may help lower the cost of hydrogen-related infrastructure in the future.
The automaker also says it hopes to eventually expand its use of the technology to make hydrogen-powered trucks and buses.