Historical Collaboration: Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Suzuki To Jointly Make Engines
|   Thursday, June 05, 2014
All major auto manufacturers in Japan have signed a partnership through which they will develop new technologies for internal combustion engines designed to provide an advantage over rivals in Europe and USA.

Eight car manufacturers in Japan will invest 500 million yen (4.9 million dollars) in developing new technologies for internal combustion engines. We're talking about a historic collaboration between Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co, Nissan Motor Corp.
Mazda Motor Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Daihatsu Motor Co., Suzuki Motor Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the maker of Subaru-brand vehicles. Also, this association will receive another 500 million yen from the Japanese government to establish a joint research program of internal combustion engines called AICE.

This association will allow the involved manufacturers to reduce development costs for the various technologies used by their future engines, despite the fact that there is a global commercial rivalry between the participants. Japanese automobile manufacturers involved in this research project will be aided by the government, as part of similar collaborations with those major players in the electronics industry of Japan, an area where companies have joined forces and have been supported by the government to get new technologies at reasonable costs.

Combined funding of 1 billion yen which will be given to the group, which also includes universities, aims to achieve a 30 percent improvement in fuel efficiency of traditional petrol and diesel engines by 2020.

"With gasoline-electric hybrid cars and fuel cell vehicles being introduced, the range of technologies that carmakers must develop is expanding, even though the number of researchers is not. In terms of technologies, we don't think we are losing against them. But in terms of the efficiency of how development is being done, we are lagging behind." said Keiji Ohtsu, chief of Honda's research and development division, who is also the freshly appointed head of the Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines (AICE).

The objectives of AICE are studying solutions for diesel engines exhaust gas treatment, the improved solutions for exhaust gas catalysts treatment, improving thermal efficiency of internal combustion engines and new engine development by direct labor based on future discoveries.

The Japanese will increase the thermal efficiency of internal combustion engines by close to 50 percent, a value unthinkable a decade or 15 years ago, and significantly higher than that of the current engines, 39 percent for petrol units, and 40 percent for diesel engines.

In this project, Japanese automakers have taken research and development methods to Europe. 
Thus, in Europe the companies will work closely one with another. Companies will also work very closely with universities to save resources and costs. This was the way the popular technologies such as clean diesel were born, said Ohtsu.

For example, in France, Renault and PSA / Peugeot-Citroen are working with universities on early stage projects in areas such as autonomous driving, engine size reduction and alternative fuels. In Germany, a research network consisting of automobile, engines and turbines manufacturers as well as suppliers, conducts joint research too.
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