Yamaha Honda Kawasaki and Suzuki forms Hydrogen Small mobility & Engine technology

A lot of car and motorcycle manufacturers have begun the transition from Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) to electric. In Japan, the 4 major manufacturers of motorcycles, has been given the formal government nod to team up in the research and development of hydrogen as an alternative source of green energy for mobility use.

Dubbed as the “Big 4” – Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Kawasaki Motors, Ltd., and Suzuki Motor Corporation – jointly announced that they have received approval from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Japan) to form a technological research association called HySE (Hydrogen Small mobility & Engine technology) for developing hydrogen-powered engines for small mobility.

Japanese ‘Big 4’ teams up for hydrogen fuel research image

To realize a decarbonized society, a multi-pathway strategy to address various issues in the mobility sector is necessary, rather than focusing on a single energy source. Against this backdrop, research and development targeted at the commercialization of mobility with engines powered by hydrogen´╝Źdeemed a next-generation energy source´╝Źis gaining momentum.

However, the use of hydrogen poses technical challenges, including fast flame speed and a large region of ignition, which often result in unstable combustion, and the limited fuel tank capacity in case of use in small mobility vehicles. In addressing these issues, the members of HySE are committed to conducting fundamental research, capitalizing on their wealth of expertise and technologies in developing gasoline-powered engines, and aim to work together with the joint mission of establishing a design standard for small mobility’s hydrogen-powered engine, and of advancing the fundamental research endeavors in this area.

The members of HySE will continue to deepen their collaborative relations in order to provide a variety of small mobility options to users and meet their diverse needs, thereby contributing to the realization of a decarbonized society.

“We are extremely pleased to announce the planned formation of the association. There are many challenges in the development of hydrogen-powered engines, but we hope to see the association’s activities advance the fundamental research in order to meet those challenges. We are committed to this endeavor with a sense of mission to preserve the use of internal combustion engines, which epitomize the long-time efforts that our predecessors have invested,” says Kenji Komatsu, Chairman nominee of HySE and Executive Officer of Technical Research & Development Center, Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd.

Roles of each company

The development of these technologies is no easy task. As such, tasks were delegated to the participants. For example, Honda will be responsible for developing hydrogen-powered engines, while its functionality, reliability and performance will be Suzuki’s responsibility.

Studying the requirements for hydrogen refueling systems and hydrogen tanks for small mobility will be under Yamaha’s responsibility.

Meanwhile, developing the fuel supply system will be under Kawasaki.

Toyota and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, with their know-how on hydrogen fuel cell and engine development, will help with the research as special members of the HySE.