Back in late 2021, Lexus surprised the automotive world with the unveiling of a hydrogen-powered recreational off-highway vehicle. And while, at the time, most people assumed this side-by-side concept was a one-and-done endeavor, it turns out that the Japanese luxury brand has spent the last year further developing the ROV, giving way to the new and improved Lexus ROV CONCEPT 2.
Unveiled at the 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon alongside two additional Lexus off-road concepts — the RX Outdoor Concept and the GX Outdoor Concept — the ROV CONCEPT 2 is part of Lexus’ ongoing OVERTRAIL PROJECT — an initiative aiming to offer environmentally-friendly adventure vehicles built for exploring nature. Measuring 122.8” in length, spanning 67.9” across, and standing at 70.8” tall, the ROV CONCEPT 2 is powered by a 1.0-liter inline-three engine that’s fueled with compressed hydrogen gas and outfitted with a superbike-style muffler. Equipped with a paddle-shifted sequential gearbox, the conceptual SxS also boasts selectable 2WD and 4WD with a differential lock.
Compared to its 2021 predecessor, the new factory-built concept vehicle sports a redesigned exterior that retains the original models hood, headlight assembly, roll-cage, and LED light bar, while gaining a new aluminum skid plate, custom suspension with adjustable damping, and a new set of off-road-specific wheels that now come shod in puncture-proof airless tires. Sporting a two-seater setup, the interior of the side-by-side has also been refined and now comes loaded with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a machined aluminum shift knob, and suspension seats with four-point harnesses.
While it’s unclear if any version of this hydrogen-powered ROV will ever see production, we imagine we’ll eventually see some of the program’s hydrogen technology trickle down to Lexus’ production offerings — whether it be on a road-going SUV or a side-by-side.