Major Japanese Motorcycle Makers Partner to Develop Hydrogen Engines

Four major motorcycle makers in Japan said they will jointly develop hydrogen-powered engines, with an eye to launching them on two-wheelers and other means of transportation in the future.

Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha said they will set up an organisation next month dedicated to such research and development, in line with Japan’s policy to promote hydrogen as a next-generation energy source that produces only water as an emission when used as fuel.

The move, reported by the Mainichi Shimbun, comes amid tightening regulations on fossil-powered vehicles and a growing global shift to electric vehicles.

Japanese motorcycle makers, which have traditionally been competitive in the area of internal combustion engines, are trying to promote hydrogen as an alternative option as they utilise existing engines, unlike all-electric models.

Toyota, which has been developing hydrogen engine cars, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, equipped with the know-how in transporting liquid hydrogen, will also join the organization as special members.

The organization, called the Hydrogen Small mobility & Engine technology Association, will invite makers in the United States and Europe to join it in promoting hydrogen-powered vehicles worldwide.

The organization is also considering installing such engines on mini-vehicles, small boats and drones.

“Hydrogen is a type of next-generation clean energy that has a huge potential,” Yamaha President Yoshihiro Hidaka said at a press conference.

And although there has been a rapid shift toward electric models, Hidaka said it is important to have a broad range of green vehicles to better reduce carbon emissions.

The association will collaborate in the basic research for hydrogen-powered engines, while the decision to develop products for commercial use will be up to each company.