Photo: Hans Greimel
Japanese automakers are coming together in the name of increase fuel efficiency, hoping to jointly develop a new generation of fuel-sipping internal combustion engines. Their goal? A whopping 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency in gasoline and diesel engines by 2020.
Even Japan's government is getting behind the new group by providing half of the project's $1 billion yen ($9.9 million) price tag. The group's members will pay the rest- some $5 million between them.
The group, dubbed Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines, or AICE, combines automakers Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Subaru, and Daihatsu, will jointly conduct basic research on a better, more fuel efficient engine. 
The goal of the group is to share on the R&D costs in an increasingly competitive environment, with the task of complying and improving on required increases in fuel economy, such as the U.S. CAFE standards. The aim is to develop new technologies that will eventually make it into production vehicles.
And while vehicles powered by CNG, hydrogen, and electricity continue to increase in number, AICE believes that the gasoline and diesel fuels will continue to be in use for a long time, according to their 10-year goal for achieving leading new advances in engine efficiency.
Today, gasoline vehicles are about 39% thermal efficient while diesel vehicles are about 42% thermal efficient. AICE's target thermal efficiency will approach 50 percent. The higher thermal efficiency means more energy will be put to the wheels.