Lexus Premieres Hydrogen-powered ROV UTV Concept

The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle wants to be the future of UTVs.

Lexus’ ROV UTV concept looks ready for the trail.Lexus

You’re not alone if you weren’t expecting this headline, and we are equally baffled: Lexus has released a UTV concept. The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROV) is a hydrogen-powered, luxury side-by-side. It even looks the part, mimicking offerings from Polaris and Can-Am, albeit with very upmarket paint. And while it’s only a concept for now, it may foreshadow machines coming in the near future.

Lexus is using the ROV concept as a platform to showcase its hydrogen technology. It’s an ongoing battle in the world of creating a sustainable energy platform, and Lexus’ parent brand Toyota has been pushing hydrogen as sustainable fuel with its Mirai road car for years. The ROV’s 1.0-liter hydrogen engine works just like a normal gas engine but “produces close to zero emissions.” Lexus incorporated some trickery for the ROV concept, such as utilizing the suspension cover and its connection to the rear hydrogen fuel tank to protect functional parts. Inside, the ROV is the full Lexus experience, with niceties such as leather seats and automotive-style controls.

Toyota and Lexus clearly know that the UTV market is pushing into price territories it had never before seen, so the prospect of a high-price, luxury side-by-side seems almost natural. If Polaris can sell out its available $30,000-plus RZRs and the $40,000 UTV is becoming more and more prevalent, Lexus could slot this machine in somewhere around those prices and not have a problem moving units. Our interest is definitely piqued, and we’d love to see a production version with a traditional gas or hybrid powerplant. It sure would look good getting pulled behind our Lexus tow rig.