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Japanese Firms to Pursue Alternative Car Fuels

Carmakers want to increase their options towards achieving carbon neutrality by demonstrating their emerging technologies in motorsport

A biofuel-powered Mazda racing car. Photo: Mazda Motor



Toyota Motor said on Saturday it would partner with four other Japanese vehicle makers to explore alternative fuels for internal combustion engine cars, including hydrogen and biomass-derived compounds.

Mazda Motor, Subaru, Yamaha Motor and Kawasaki Heavy Industries said they would work with Toyota on the alternative fuel development.

The announcement was made at a race track in Okayama, western Japan, where Toyota is racing a hydrogen car co-driven by its chief executive Akio Toyoda.

Toyoda said the companies want to increase their options towards achieving carbon neutrality by demonstrating their emerging technologies in motorsport.

“I believe that this kind of wilful passion and action will change the shape of the future 10 or 20 years from now,” Toyoda said. “With the courage and determination to change the shape of the future, we will continue to take on challenges.”

Toyota plans for 15 electric vehicle (EV) models by 2025 and is investing $13.5 billion over the next decade to expand battery production capacity.

At the same, time however, it is continuing to develop vehicles powered by hydrogen, although converting internal combustion engines to green fuels such as hydrogen is technologically difficult.

But doing so would allow the companies to support decades-old existing supply chains employing hundreds of thousands of workers that they may otherwise have to retrench as they switch to EV production.

Subaru said in a statement that the five companies intend to pursue motorsport using carbon-neutral fuels, explore the use of hydrogen engines in two-wheeled and other vehicles, and continue to race using hydrogen engines.

Mazda said it would conduct verification tests in various environments and conditions to contribute to the expansion of the use of next-generation biodiesel fuel.


  • George Russell




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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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