Monday, June 17, 2024
NewsICE powertrains : Toyota, Subaru and Mazda reveal their long-term plans

ICE powertrains : Toyota, Subaru and Mazda reveal their long-term plans

  • The three partners still believe in ICE powertrains.

  • The EV option is only one solution to reduce carbon footprint.


 

The internal combustion engine (ICE) is still part of the plans of the world’s many carmakers, but its development has admittedly slowed down. Many automakers prefer to invest in the electric future.

1.5L in-line 4-cylinder engine in development by Toyota Motor Corporation
1.5L in-line 4-cylinder engine in development by Toyota Motor Corporation | Photo: Toyota

But the opposite is also possible. On this subject, Toyota, Subaru, and Mazda have unveiled their respective plans to stretch the useful life of combustion engines as long as possible. Dubbed “Engine Reborn”, this new vision for the future involves developing smaller, cleaner engines that are also compatible with carbon-neutral fuels or even hybridization.

New, cleaner engines from Toyota

According to Toyota CEO Koji Sato, EVs are just one solution (among many) for reducing carbon emissions. The Japanese giant has unveiled two 1.5-liter engines, the first of which is naturally aspirated, while the second is turbocharged. The latter delivers the same level of power as a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter unit. The other option is more economical and less polluting than the brand’s current 1.5-liter engine.

2.0L in-line 4-cylinder engine in development by Toyota Motor Corporation
2.0L in-line 4-cylinder engine in development by Toyota Motor Corporation | Photo: Toyota

Toyota has also unveiled a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder unit, more powerful than the current 2.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, but also more economical at the pump. Unsurprisingly, these new engines have been developed to comply with increasingly stringent regulations, particularly in Europe, where Euro 7 standards will be implemented from 2027.

Meanwhile, at Mazda…

The link with Mazda is easy to make, since Toyota holds shares in the small Japanese manufacturer. However, Mazda will be concentrating on the further development of its legendary rotary engine. This Mazda-specific unit would be designed to supply electricity to a hybrid powertrain, using biofuel or even hydrogen.

2 Rotor Rotary-EV System Concept by Mazda
2 Rotor Rotary-EV System Concept by Mazda | Photo: Mazda

Mazda is currently working on two rotary engines, one with a single rotor and the other with two rotors.

Opposite cylinders at Subaru

The presentation really brought out the distinctive character of the three Japanese brands. On the Subaru side, it was the 4-cylinder flat-four that came to the fore for this unveiling. Subaru’s future flat-four engine will also be designed to work in tandem with a hybrid system. In fact, we can expect to see these half-petrol, half-electric powertrains aboard future Forester and Crosstrek models, among others.

The next-generation hybrid system by Subaru
The next-generation hybrid system by Subaru | Photo: Subaru

The unveiling of the three partners only confirms Toyota’s desire to pursue this multi-solution vision. According to the brand’s senior management, it makes more sense to foresee a future with several types of vehicle on the road, some electric, some hybrid, and some with very clean petrol engines.

Subaru Crosstrek equipped with the next-generation hybrid system
Subaru Crosstrek equipped with the next-generation hybrid system | Photo: Subaru

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