It goes without saying that electrification is upon us – all in the effort to save the environment and with the goal of carbon neutrality. Not all automakers and countries want to accelerate the push, though.
Five major Japanese automotive companies have formed a coalition to explore options in the effort to save the internal combustion engine or ICE. Toyota, Mazda, and Subaru announced the intention to go beyond electrification to achieve carbon neutrality in a joint press conference, while Kawasaki and Yamaha announced the intention to develop hydrogen engine development for two-wheeled transport and other vehicles.
On Mazda's part, the automaker takes on the challenge of racing a 1.5-litre SkyActiv-D engine-powered race car. It plans to enter the ST-Q class of the Super Taikyu Race in Okayama in its Mazda Spirit Racing Bio concept Demio vehicle, which consumes next-generation bio-diesel fuel.
Toyota and Subaru, on the other hand, will be racing in next year's Super Taikyu Series using carbon-neutral synthetic fuel derived from biomass. Subaru intends to race in a BRZ-based vehicle and Toyota in a GR86-based race car.
Toyota also vows to continue racing using its hydrogen-powered race car. It has already entered three races with the said car, namely the Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours Race, the Super Taikyu Race in Autopolis, and the Suzuka S-TAI. It has also been working with companies and local governments to expand the options for producing, transporting, and using hydrogen.
The pushback isn't surprising, though. In fact, only six automakers committed to stopping sales of ICE-powered cars by 2040, with major auto industries such as China, Germany, and the United States not pledging to the push during the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scottland.