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Toyota, Mazda, and Subaru Team up for New High-Tech Engine Family

by Nathan Petroelje
4 June 2024 2 min read
Toyota, Mazda, and Subaru Team up for New High-Tech Engine Family
(Photos: Toyota)

Despite the frenzy of battery-electric vehicles hitting the marketplace these days, internal combustion engines still have a future, according to Toyota, Mazda, and Subaru. The three Japanese automakers have announced a collaborative effort to develop a new family of engines that will aid in the push toward carbon neutrality.

Subaru-Toyota-Mazda-Multipathway-Workshop

The new engines, according to the joint announcement released last week by all three automakers, will be “tailored to electrification,” which almost certainly means these will be the backbone of new hybrid systems that each automaker will seek to employ for upcoming products. Key to the new engine’s eco-friendly goals will be the ability to run on various carbon-neutral (CN) fuels such as bio-fuels, synthetic fuels, and liquid hydrogen.

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Toyota has been campaigning a hydrogen-powered race car in Japan for a while now, and no doubt the learnings from that programme have helped inform this new family of engines that the trio of automakers will be developing.

Subaru-Toyota-Mazda-Multipathway-Workshop

Interestingly, these new engines won’t all take the same form. The announcement mentioned that each automaker will leverage the development improvements to create signature engines that “not only represent their respective brands but also cater to their customers’ unique needs and preferences.”

Each automaker shared examples of what its signature engines would look like. Subaru brought a flat-four engine paired with a next-generation hybrid system stuffed inside a camouflaged prototype of its Crosstrek.

Mazda brought along single- and twin-rotor engines. The company currently uses a rotary engine as a range-extender in the MX-30 and the Iconic SP sports car concept, though the engine has no mechanical connection to the wheels. Perhaps in the future, the rotary could once again spin the wheels directly.

Toyota displayed two new inline-fours: A 1.5-litre unit and a larger 2.0-litre. There wasn’t much in the way of details for either, except that Toyota said each motor “achieves both high output and high thermal efficiency.”

In addition to being more efficient and more powerful, the new engines will also be more compact in nature, helping to improve vehicle packaging. “Smaller engines allow for even lower hoods, improving design possibilities and aerodynamic performance while contributing to better fuel efficiency,” said the release. No arguments there. (Seeing a hood line come down instead of climbing would also be a welcome reversal of a somewhat annoying design trend, though we recognise part of that is driven by pedestrian safety laws.)

Subaru-Toyota-Mazda-Multipathway-Workshop

There’s no word on a timetable for these engines, but we expect more details to trickle out – including which cars will be the first recipients and the markets where these engines will be offered – in the coming months.

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