Toyota Forms ‘Team Japan’ To Help Keep Combustion Engine Alive

Toyota has assembled a team consisting of themselves and four other Japanese marques in an effort to keep ICE vehicles relevant.

Akio Toyoda presiding over the JAMA September 9 press conference 2 Akio Toyoda presiding over the JAMA September 9 press conference 2

Toyota’s continued resistance to BEVs is becoming more and more prevalent. Just days after refusing to sign a climate pledge aiming to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles by 2040, Toyota has organized a team to promote the combustion engine in the electric age. ‘Team Japan’ consists of Toyota, Subaru, Mazda, Kawasaki and Yamaha. The group will work together on the development of greener fueling options as well as hydrogen tech.

The coalition will see the five companies develop carbon-neutral fuels for racing, meanwhile Toyota and Mazda will together develop a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-D engine powered by biodiesel. Subaru will work with Toyota for 2022’s Super Taikyu Series endurance season, with both companies collaborating to make a biomass-derived synthetic fuel. Furthermore, Yamaha and Kawasaki are considering working on a hydrogen engine for motorcycles.

Toyota clearly believes other solutions such as hydrogen will play their part in a sustainable future, an idea Tesla CEO Elon Musk has labelled “mind-bogglingly stupid” in the past. Despite all this, Toyota still intends to compete in the BEV space through the bz4x crossover which will arrive in mid-2022.

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Toyota released the following statement after the announcement of the coalition:

"By promoting further collaboration in producing, transporting and using fuel in combination with internal combustion engines, the five companies aim to provide customers with greater choice."

Greater choice? Perhaps, although only time will tell if the proposed alternatives are viable solutions. Toyota has seen limited success with the hydrogen-powered Mirai, with a lack of infrastructure and high running costs being key obstacles for consumers.

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