Lexus ROV Concept Is a Luxurious Hydrogen-Powered SXS

First a battery-electric SUV, now a hydrogen-fueled side-by-side ATV? We can’t even imagine what Lexus will get up to next week. You’re looking at the Lexus ROV (Recreational Off-highway Vehicle), created by Lexus’ European operations as a concept. Lexus claims this side-by-side offers “near zero-emissions” fun provided by a hydrogen-burning 1.0-liter engine—not a hydrogen fuel cell, a portable chemistry set that parent company Toyota uses for generating electricity to power electric drive motors in its fuel-cell vehicles.

If you’re familiar with the most recent studies of the total carbon emissions of hydrogen, both today and in the future, “near zero-emissions” seems like a stretch. But this is a concept—and more to the point, a Lexus-branded ATV concept—so let’s approach it with the sense of whimsy it deserves.

This isn’t a space Lexus has played in before, but the Japanese luxury brand claims it has a sincere interest in the outdoor recreational space. It may have an interest, but does it have a market? Maybe in Europe, but we have trouble imagining an American hunter strapping a buck to the tail end of a Lexus ROV and hauling it out of the woods, or a farmer using it to haul hay to their livestock. But maybe there’s a lifestyle, somewhere, calling for off-road luxury side-by-sides.

That said, we’re glad that the off-highway segment is attracting a carbon-conscious look from major automakers. ATV and other off-road-only vehicle manufacturers will have to confront their carbon emissions at some point. The Lexus ROV is a strange but thought-provoking experiment in that very issue—even if it likely will never appear on a Lexus lot anywhere in the world.

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