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Japanese giants team up on ICE development

Toyota, Subaru and Mazda to work together on development of internal combustion engines

6 Jun 2024

AT A joint press conference this week Toyota, Subaru and Mazda have announced that the trio will collaborate on the development of new internal combustion engines (ICEs) in a bid to accelerate development – and lower development costs.


The three will work on what they describe as “signature engines”, which means that rather than each company building its own four-cylinder engine, for example, one will handle that role – namely Toyota – while the others focus their energies elsewhere.


Perhaps as no surprise, Mazda will invest its energy in the development of rotary engines while Subaru continues to improve the horizontally opposed four-cylinder, or Boxer engine.


All say that the new engines will be compatible with synthetic and carbon-neutral fuels, including liquid hydrogen and biofuels.


The trio said the announcement clarifies the role that internal combustion engines will play into the future, stating that the three companies will seek not only to improve standalone engine performance, but to optimise their integration with electric drive units, thereby harnessing the advantages of each.


The shared development process will also allow Toyota, Subaru, and Mazda to more readily comply with increasingly strict emissions regulations.


“In order to provide our customers with diverse options to achieve carbon neutrality, it is necessary to take on the challenge of evolving engines that are in tune with the energy environment of the future,” said Toyota Motor Corporation CEO, president, and board member Koji Sato.


“The three companies, which share the same aspirations, will refine engine technologies through friendly competition.”


Mr Sato’s sentiments were echoed by Subaru Corporation CEO, president, and representative director Atsushi Osaki, who said, “Achieving a carbon-neutral society is a challenge that must be undertaken by all of Japan's industries and society as a whole”.


“As we continue to refine electrification technology, we will also enhance our horizontally opposed engines with an aim to use carbon-neutral fuels in the future,” he added.


“Moving forward, the three companies sharing the same aspiration will continue to advance the pursuit of sustainable excellence in Japanese car manufacturing.”


Even as Subaru, Toyota, and Mazda compete in the product arena with unique engines and cars, the companies have a shared dedication to achieving carbon neutrality through a multi-pathway approach.


Together with like-minded partners who are similarly skilled and passionate about engines, they will work to create the future of Japan’s auto industry, as Mazda Motor Corporation CEO, president, and representative director Masahiro Moro explained.


“We will continue to offer customers exciting cars by honing internal combustion engines for the electrification era and expanding the multi-pathway possibilities for achieving carbon neutrality,” he said.


“Given the rotary engine’s compatibility with electrification and carbon-neutral fuels, Mazda will continue to develop the technology through co-creation and competition to ensure it can contribute broadly to society.”


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