A new consortium known as the Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines (AICE) has been established, with Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Suzuki and Daihatsu all signed up with the aim of improving fuel efficiency levels by 30 per cent for internal combustion petrol and diesel engines by 2020.
The alliance will be backed by Japan's federal government, with the project expected to cost 1 billion yen ($10.6 million) and half will be paid by the car makers. Universities will form part of the group, too, lending expertise in developing fields of engineering and technology.
The companies will share basic research on ways to improve efficiency levels for engines, with investment and investigative costs shared among brands in the lead up to offering the more efficient powertrains in production cars.
Targets for improving fuel economy include increased thermal efficiency, whereby more energy can be captured during the combustion process and thus a higher engine output - AICE will aim for 50 per cent thermal efficiency compared with current industry-best levels of 39 per cent for petrol engines and 42 per cent for diesels.
The aims of the diesel engine program will be focused on lowering nitrogen oxide emissions and eliminating particulate matter, while the AICE will look to improve petrol engines by achieving better combustion cycles and reducing engine knock.