Japan’s top carmakers – namely Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Daihatsu and makers of Subaru Fuji Heavy Industries – are all set to team up with two of the country’s top universities to do research on eco-friendly engines. The Japanese government is also putting in financial support to the project, hope to develop diesel engines that cut down carbon dioxide emissions by 30% as compared to 2010 levels. Each of the eight involved car manufacturers will then apply the technology developed to both diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles.
The University of Tokyo and Waseda University will be the educational institutions involved in the endeavor, where the idea is to meet environmental regulations that continue to be tightened around the world – and by doing so get an advantage on the European carmakers when it comes to eco-friendly car technology. The demand for electric vehicles is gradually increasing, but internal combustion engines will most likely remain as the main type of engine for cars for years to come. In that sense, it is still wise for the Japanese manufacturers to develop a cleaner, more environment-friendly internal combustion, even as Japanese car companies have traditionally outdone their European counterparts.
This joint project will see all eight manufacturers send their engineers and contribute funds to the efforts. The engineers will be dispatched to the two universities’ research laboratories, and together with university researchers, they will look into reducing the white smoke emitted from diesel engines as well as developing a simulation technology for a soot-removing catalytic device. These projects could most likely cost nearly 2 billion yen (around USD$19.7 million) in the three years starting from fiscal 2014, and Japan’s government will do its part, subsidizing two-thirds of the initial year’s costs.