Japanese Motorcycle Brands to Develop Hydrogen ICE Powertrains

The big four Japanese motorcycle manufacturers have formed a research group to investigate creating small hydrogen ICE powertrains.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has given approval for Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki to form a technological research association called Hydrogen Small mobility & Engine technology (HySE) for developing hydrogen-powered engines for small mobility.

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 will conduct fundamental research, drawing on their expertise and technologies in developing small ICE powertrains, and aim to work together with the joint mission of establishing a design standard for small mobility’s hydrogen-powered engine.

Main research and development areas, and the role of each company, include:

  • Research on the model-based development of hydrogen-powered engines (Honda)
  • Element study on functionality, performance and reliability of the hydrogen-powered engines (Suzuki);
  • Hands-on research using real hydrogen-powered engines on their functionality, performance, and reliability (Yamaha Motor, Kawasaki);
  • Studying the requirements for a hydrogen refueling system and hydrogen tanks for small mobility (Yamaha);
  • Studying the auxiliary equipment required for a fuel supply system and tanks, and the equipment installed between the fuel tank and the injector (Kawasaki Motors).

In addition to the full members, Toyota will support the association as special members. Kawasaki, as one of the main organizers of the CO2-free Hydrogen Energy Supply-chain Technology Research Association (HySTRA), will drive forward HySE’s activities, based on the knowledge gained. Toyota will use HySE’s research results to further development of hydrogen-powered engines, employing its know-how on experiments, analyses and the designing of large hydrogen-fueled power units for four-wheel vehicles.

Kenji Komatsu, chairman nominee of HySE and executive officer of Technical Research & Development Center, Yamaha, said: “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.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

One comment

  1. Avatar Peter Savage 19th May 2023 @ 2:32 pm

    This is great news the world needs this, well done for every one involved .

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