Kawasaki, Yamaha likely to develop hydrogen engine for two-wheelers

by Ajit Dalvi 13 Nov 2021

Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Yamaha Motor have begun exploring the joint development of a hydrogen engine for possible use in two-wheeled vehicles. Going forward, they are planned to be joined by Honda Motor Co and Suzuki Motor Corporation. The four Japanese automakers intend to jointly explore the possibility of achieving carbon neutrality through the use of internal combustion engines in two-wheeled vehicles.

To ensure the four companies maintain a distinct line between cooperation and competition, they intend to proceed after establishing a framework that will clearly define areas of cooperation and collaborative research.

Since 2010, Kawasaki has been focusing on hydrogen as a next-generation energy source and has been developing technologies for producing, transporting, and using hydrogen throughout the entire supply chain needed to support society.

Kawasaki is currently conducting verification tests for transporting large-quantity, low-cost hydrogen to Japan produced from Australian lignite. By the end of fiscal 2021, it plans to transport hydrogen using its in-house-constructed, first-in-the-world purpose-built liquefied hydrogen carrier, the Suiso Frontier. Also, based on hydrogen combustion technologies cultivated through the creation of the world's first successful urban-area, 100 percent hydrogen-fueled gas turbine power generation technology for which it completed development in 2018, Kawasaki Heavy Industries is developing hydrogen-fueled engines for land, sea, and air mobility applications, such as for aircraft, ships, and two-wheeled vehicles.

Meanwhile, Yamaha Motor is developing hydrogen engine technology for possible use in its two-wheeled vehicles, ROV (four-wheeled recreational off-highway vehicle) series, and other products.

Racing as a tool to advance tech
Earlier today, the four Japanese majors – Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Subaru Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation, Mazda Motor Corporation  and Yamaha Motor Co – jointly announced today that, toward achieving carbon neutrality, they will take on the challenge of expanding fuel options through the use of internal combustion engines at the (three-hour) Super Taikyu Race in Okayama on November 13-14.

Towards achieving carbon neutrality, and in addition to advancing initiatives for electrification, by promoting further collaboration in producing, transporting, and using fuel in combination with internal combustion engines, the five companies aim to provide customers with greater choice.

Specifically, to further expand options for producing, transporting, and using fuel, the five companies intend to unite and pursue the three initiatives of

  • Participating in races using carbon-neutral fuels,
  • Exploring the use of hydrogen engines in two-wheeled and other vehicles, and
  • Continuing to race using hydrogen engines. Participating in races using carbon-neutral fuels,

Kawasaki, Subaru, Toyota, Mazda, Yamaha think beyond EVs for carbon neutrality