By on May 20, 2014


Japan’s cadre of automakers have formed an alliance to research and develop a new generation of diesel and gasoline internal combustion engines, with the goal of delivering a 30 percent improvement in fuel efficiency by 2020.

Automotive News reports the Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines (AICE) will provide half of the 1 billion yen ($9.9 million) budget for the research and development of the new engines, with the Japanese government contributing the rest. The group structure follows similar paths outlined by their European competitors, where automakers cooperate with academia and government to bring new and improved technologies to market while cutting costs in R&D.

AICE has outlined a 10-year plan for improving efficiency in the combustion engine, targeting a thermal efficiency rate of 50 percent for both gasoline and diesel engines. Diesel R&D will focus on EGR and particulate filtration systems, while R&D for gasoline aims for more complete combustion cycles and improved ignition with knock reduction.

Honda R&D managing officer Keiji Ohtsu will be the first president of the new R&D body.

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16 Comments on “Japanese Automakers Form Alliance To Develop Next-Gen Fuel-Efficient Engines...”

  • avatar

    Hopefully it will be based from the boxer engine.

  • avatar

    How far are we going to go before someone says the returns are just too small, I don’t believe we’re there yet, but if government requirements are forcing multiple automakers to pool together cash to reach requirements – are the goals realistic?

    Just 30 years ago, GM let each division make their own engines and compete within the company, now the entire Japanese market is pooling cash to develop something for all of them to use.
    We use the argument that vehicles aren’t getting more expensive, its just inflation.. Well using the same components across te entire brand definately reduce costs like never before, all of the costs today are in meeting government requirements, everything else is cheap.

  • avatar

    The next generation of soulless econoboxes.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    As consumption goes down, the Feds will have to raise gasoline taxes to compensate. The net result is that we all pay the same, but get less. Welcome to Europe.

  • avatar

    Say hello to 2-cylinder engines and 14 gear transmissions with 2.5 final drive ratios.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    What the heck is the meaning of the pink carnation on the lapel, anyways?

    Some executives faces look like they have just eaten some bad sushi.

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  • avatar

    I think this is a good thing!

    In decades past when manufacturers started to focus on the efficiency of their engines, it usually meant better engines. Today’s engines are much better than those of 5, 10, or 20 years ago.

    Some of the best engines have come from Japan. Some of the best innovations have come from other than the US. Yep, that’s terrible but that’s the way it is.

    Motorcycle tech has made motorcycle engines fabulous. The same tech can make car engines even better yet.

    Personally, I’m not concerned about the price of gasoline. But as the owner of a Tundra 5.7, I believe that Toyota has not maximized the potential of that magnificent engine yet.

    I would like to see cylinder management like that of the Silverado and Ram V8s applied to the Tundra 5.7, and I would like to see supercharging or turbo charging added, along with dual exhaust systems to include dual catalysts, and multi-fire extended ignition sequences during the power stroke.

    I know they can do it. This stuff’s been around forever.

    Whatever improvements make small engines better, those same improvements will make larger engines more efficient and even more magnificent.

    This is something worth watching.

  • avatar

    They still think there will be gasoline engines 10 years from now? Are they serious? No imagination. In that time frame there may happen paradigm shift from Silicon Valley on how cars are powered. Or we need to transcend to AGI as soon as possible if it does not happen to figure out how use solar power to move cars. It is about time. We still using 19th century technology to move in space.

  • avatar

    The reason those fellows are looking glum is that they have a difficult task ahead of them, increasing energy efficiency of the practical mobile heat engine by at least 20% on a budget of just $10 million. Pretty near impossible. They just want to get back to their regular desk jobs and forget the pie in the sky PR.

    The best current gasoline engine in “Atkinson” form has about 38% efficiency over a limited rpm range at unthrottled full load. Both the Toyota and Honda engines used in their hybrids achieve this. Change the rpm or load and efficiency rapidly descends to less than 30%. All you have to do is examine the published BSFC graphs available to anyone with the wit to use a search engine. 212 grams per kWh is 38% thermal efficiency. From what I can glean (correct me if I’m wrong), the Honda manages this efficiency at about 2500 rpm. And nobody mentions part load efficiency, the numbers are too scary low. Like 15 or 20%.

    Throttling the air input, however accomplished, in order to inject the correct amount of fuel for the output required, lowers efficiency. Oh sure, they’ve tried lean burn, and now they’re trying to combine diesel and spark attributes in the same engine etc. etc. The latest candidate is Hyundai in their Michigan research center – I wish them good luck.

    Diesels are unthrottled and always operate with excess air. Over 50% efficiency is already routine in huge marine engines, albeit with heroic measures to conserve heat. Visit the Wartsila web pages. But again this efficiency is limited to small variations of rev range. It works best at 85% of full power at 185 grams per kWh.

    If someone managed to actually achieve 40% efficiency in a vehicle engine over an operating range of say 1,000 to 5,000 rpm and loads from 10% to maximum, then that would change things. Completely. Because it would easily double mileage in the real world.

    The usual turbo-diesel apologists, typically Europeans who hate hybrids for no good reason, and who overlook the 15% greater by volume calorific value of fuel oil over gasoline, make wild claims about diesel efficiency in. Then gloss over DPF technology. And practical needs to reduce diesel rap.

    AICE will no doubt be besieged by the usual wackos with new mechanical layouts, these earnest people all the time unaware that static diagrams bear little relationship to an actual revolving engine. It’s like the difference between Direct Current and Alternating Current: the analysis involves a lot more than static DC models. That never occurs to these people: witness the hundreds of “new” engine designs that were/are going to “revolutionize” the world and “double” your mpg.

    Of course, none have made it. The Wankel died on combustion chamber shape that changed too rapidly as the rotor revolved. At least with a piston engine you can change the dwell time where the combustion chamber shape remains relatively static by changing connecting rod length to stroke. The diesel suffers by having relatively long and/or repeated injections occuring over relatively large crank angles to quell excessive knock.

    Ah yes, nothing is for free. And remember, all companies only quote efficiency of their engines at their very best rpm and load. Which happens almost never in real world driving.

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