In the race to catch up with Europe, the USA, and China in the electric car market, Japanese manufacturers are simultaneously exploring the potential of hydrogen.
The Land of the Rising Sun has long been at the forefront of hydrogen development, and a new agreement signed between Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda, Toyota, and Yamaha further solidifies Japan’s commitment to hydrogen-powered mobility.
The collaboration, known as HySE (Hydrogen Small mobility & Engine technology), has received approval from the Japanese Ministry of Economy and Trade. Its primary objective is to develop hydrogen engines specifically designed for “small mobility,” such as compact vehicles and motorcycles. By adopting a multi-level strategy that doesn’t rely solely on a single energy source, HySE aims to contribute to the creation of a decarbonized society.
Under the leadership of Kenji Komatsu, the president of HySE and director of Yamaha’s research and development center, experts from the participating brands will pool their knowledge and resources to address the technical challenges associated with small hydrogen engines. The research will focus on enhancing the functionality, performance, and reliability of hydrogen-fueled heat engines, as well as the development of rapid and safe refueling systems.
Japan’s dedication to hydrogen as a clean energy solution is evident in various ongoing projects. Toyota, for instance, has made significant investments in fuel cell technology, incorporating it into models like the Mirai, which is also available in the Italian market. Additionally, Toyota has introduced hydrogen heat engines in vehicles such as the Corolla Cross and racing Corolla, participating in special Japanese championships.
Honda, too, is actively engaged in hydrogen ventures, extending beyond automobiles to include fuel cell lunar rovers. Looking beyond Japan, Hyundai from Korea has unveiled its “Hydrogen Vision 2040” plan, which aims to utilize hydrogen as a power source for cars, trucks, and even aircraft.
Japan’s commitment to hydrogen and the collaboration among its leading manufacturers signify the country’s determination to drive sustainable mobility and advance hydrogen technology. By embracing hydrogen engines for small mobility, Japan is demonstrating its readiness to explore diverse solutions and pave the way for a greener and more sustainable future in transportation.