Other than the LX, Lexus is not famous for its off-road vehicles, but the Japanese luxury brand now introduces a concept for a hydrogen-fueled side-by-side utility vehicle. It calls the machine the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle.
The ROV uses a 1.0-liter combustion engine that burns hydrogen, rather than gasoline. Lexus claims that this layout allows for the traditional sound of an ICE but with almost no emissions – a "negligible amount" comes from the mill burning oil while driving, according to the company. A high-pressure tank holds the hydrogen and a special injector puts it into the combustion chamber.
Lexus makes no mention of this in the ROV's announcement, but the hydrogen-combustion tech likely comes from its parent company Toyota. There's a rumor that a production version of this engine could be on sale as soon as 2025.
The ROV blends Lexus design elements with the traditional appearance of a side-by-side off-roader. The shape of the front incorporates the cues from the brand's spindle-shaped grille and L-shaped driving lights.
The suspension is exposed, and you can even see the coilover mounting points through the holes in the hood. The wheels stick out from the bodywork. Photos show a removable, Lexus-branded windshield.
Viewing the ROV from the side provides the best view of the creased body panels and dark bronze paint. An LED light bar attaches to the front of the roof. A rollcage offers occupant protection.
The perspective from the rear also provides a great view of the suspension. A single exhaust outlet emerges from the middle. Like the headlights, the taillamps are also L-shaped.
Inside, the instrument cluster combines a large analog tachometer and a digital display. The sporty steering wheel is covered in synthetic leather and has paddle shifters behind it. The dashboard has switches for the light bar and interior lamp. The gearshift has simple Drive, Neutral, and Reverse positions. Dials on the console control the drive mode and operate the headlights.
The occupants sit in sporty seats that are also covered in synthetic leather. Harnesses hold the passengers in place.
There's no sign that Lexus actually plants to build the ROV. It's intriguing that this is how the brand is showing off the hydrogen-combustion engine, though. Lexus doesn't make side-by-side off-roaders, so the appeal for this machine is kind of a mystery.