Japanese auto giant joins race to develop fuel-efficient decarbonized vehicles

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ANN/THE JAPAN NEWS – Nissan Motor Co is the latest automaker to develop vehicles running on carbon-free fuels thanks to its participation in the race.

On Saturday, the company unveiled a car to compete in a 24-hour endurance race at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture.

The new car, based on the latest model of the firm’s Fairlady Z sports vehicle, is designed to be fueled by used cooking oil and wood chips.

Explaining the company’s motivations for entering the race, Nissan chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta said the automaker was aiming to develop a competitive engine compatible with low-carbon fuels, and by subjecting the car to tough racing conditions, it was hoped that a wide range of knowledge could be gained.

Decarbonized fuels, also called carbon neutral fuels, mainly include biofuels made from corn and algae, and synthetic fuels made from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The CO2 emitted when the car is running has already been ‘collected’ during the manufacturing process for ‘net zero’ emissions.

Nissan Motor Co‘s Fairlady Z is seen at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture. PHOTO: ANN

Toyota Motor Corp and Subaru Corp. have jointly developed Toyota’s GR86 and Subaru’s BRZ for a race in March, and are currently working on a new joint sports car that uses decarbonized fuels.

Mazda Motor Corp also piloted a biodiesel-powered car. Its fuel was provided by Euglena Co, a producer of health foods made from euglena microalgae. Foreign automakers are also keen to use biofuels.

Manufacturers are striving to develop electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles to decarbonize their fleets. The companies also see low-carbon fuels as “expanding their range of options,” according to a senior Subaru official.

The basic structure of these vehicles, including engine and tank, is the same as that of gasoline vehicles, so existing parts and technologies can be used. This facilitates the maintenance of related facilities and enhances job security.

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