New engines are needed in the age of electrification. To develop them and achieve carbon neutrality, the Japanese firms Subaru, Toyota, and Mazda have joined forces. "With these engines, each of the three companies will aim to optimise integration with electric motors, batteries and other drive units," reads the joint press release.

These efforts will also serve to make the new powertrains compatible with various fuel alternatives, including e-fuel (synthetic fuel), biofuels and liquid hydrogen.

Steps taken so far

In announcing the partnership, the three car manufacturers were keen to emphasise the steps taken individually to date."Subaru, Toyota, and Mazda have always been guided by a deep understanding of the different lifestyles of their customers," they wrote, mentioning that this understanding has led the three companies to develop different 'iconic' engines:

  • Subaru: horizontally opposed engine. The pistons move horizontally, creating a low-profile engine with less vibration and a lower centre of gravity;
  • Toyota: in-line four-cylinder engine. Achieves both high efficiency and high thermal efficiency;
  • Mazda: rotary engine. Compact and light, but powerful. Currently used for generators.

In the pursuit of decarbonisation, all three companies have sought to secure a future for supply chains and jobs and have learnt much from the extreme conditions of racing.

The engines of tomorrow

The next generation of engines will perform better and revolutionise vehicle packaging. Being more compact, these new engines will allow cars to have lower bonnets, improving aerodynamic performance, and so there will also be efficiency benefits.

At the same time, the new engines will be made carbon neutral by moving away from fossil fuels and offering compatibility with various alternatives, including e-fuel (synthetic fuel), biofuels and liquid hydrogen.