Compact and lightweight, motorcycles emit small amounts of CO2 during use as a mobility option, and they can also be manufactured using minimal resources as raw materials. For these reasons, motorcycles are deemed "environmentally friendly products" in life cycle assessments (LCA), which assess the environmental impact of a product throughout its entire life cycle, from raw materials to disposal and recycling. However, it is also true that motorcycles add to the overall environmental burden of human activities in the urban areas of the ASEAN region, a major market for Yamaha Motor, by contributing to traffic congestion and air pollution.
Of the total life cycle CO2 emissions produced by the Yamaha Motor Group, emissions from products account for 85%, of which motorcycles account for 72%. The Paris Agreement adopted in 2015 commits the international community to tackling global warming, with the goal of keeping the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. At Yamaha Motor, we are working hard to contribute to the creation of a low carbon society and resolution of regional issues in various ways. These include the shift from 2-stroke to more environmentally friendly 4-stroke engines, and in 2014 we released a next-generation high-performance compact motorcycle engine based on the BLUE CORE concept, which strives to take riding enjoyment, fuel efficiency, and environmental performance to a whole new level. Various models sold in the ASEAN region and elsewhere are equipped with BLUE CORE engines.
The 4-stroke Challenge and Expansion of Product Categories
Its engine featured a 5-valve layout that made it easier to give the combustion chamber a lens-like form to achieve a high compression ratio. The resulting rapid combustion produced a lot of power. The area around the cylinder head also had a compact design, leading to a smaller overall chassis size.
In addition to the advantages of a 4-stroke design, including clean emissions, quiet operation, and excellent fuel efficiency, this new-generation outboard featured speed and acceleration performance that rivaled those of 2-stroke outboards.
4-stroke personal watercraft offer dramatically better environmental characteristics such as fuel efficiency, cleanness of exhaust, and quietness, while providing a smooth dynamic ride. Yamaha has since expanded its range of personal watercraft, from sporty models to cruising models.
This snowmobile featured a new engine based on the engine of the YZF-R1, Yamaha's flagship motorcycle model, and mounted on an aluminum frame specially designed to accommodate a 4-stroke engine.
This environmentally friendly product cut fuel consumption by 20% by adopting a 4-stroke engine. It also achieved enhanced exhaust performance, including a 95% reduction in hydrocarbons.
The ideal behind all "BLUE CORE" engines is "Fun & Eco!" After all, if it's not fun, it's not a Yamaha. These engines are developed not only to achieve high fuel efficiency, but also to deliver the fun-to-ride performance we want all Yamaha customers to enjoy. "BLUE CORE" engines are our answer to what an eco-friendly Yamaha engine should be, and they are products of Yamaha "Sports DNA" and over 60 years of our unwavering Yamaha Monozukuri spirit of craftsmanship. But this ideal has no final answer, and that's why Yamaha will continue to evolve "BLUE CORE" technology into the future.
A motorcycle engine design concept that balances fuel economy and environmental performance at a high level
Increasing Combustion Efficiency / Reducing Power Loss / Increasing Cooling Efficiency
Increasing Combustion Efficiency
Clean Combustion Enables "Fun & Eco"
A key point of BLUE CORE engines is their low fuel consumption, but achieving that alone isn't our aim. Yamaha's quest is for the ultimate balance of the compression ratio, combustion chamber shape, air intake path, combustion flame propagation, and more, because cleaner combustion is what makes it possible for us to give BLUE CORE engines an ideal combination of both strong power delivery and fuel efficiency.
Reducing Power Loss
Light & Simple Means Waste-less Performance
Engines run on the power of burning fuel. Our desire to get the fullest use out of every last bit of that power led us to try to reduce power losses inside the engine as much as possible. To accomplish this, we turned our attention to the metals of each and every part to make them as lightweight as we could and reduce frictional losses to an absolute minimum.
Increasing Cooling Efficiency
Always Cool for Maximum Power
For an engine to deliver stable performance across a wide range of operating conditions, optimal cooling performance is essential. If the engine runs too hot or too cool, the power it will deliver weakens. We design each BLUE CORE engine—whether it's air-cooled or liquid-cooled—to keep its temperatures down but still up where we can maximize the power of each drop of fuel burned.
2020 Results on Reduction of Use-phase CO2 Emissions Specified in the Yamaha Motor Group Environmental Plan 2050
Under the old Environmental Plan 2050 , we carried out our activities toward achievement of the target to reduce use-phase CO2 emissions per unit sales by 50% from 2010 levels by 2050 (After the Plan review, our aim is to achieve carbon neutrality (net-zero CO2 emissions).) All operating divisions have set milestone 2025 targets and are working on specific measures within the time frame of a three-year medium-term plan (2019–2021). The Environment Committee checks progress toward their targets three times a year and reports the status to the Board of Directors at least twice a year.
In FY2020, we achieved a 15.8% reduction of CO2 emissions per unit sales as compared to the target in the plan to reduce per unit sales by 12.5%.
BLUE CORE Engine
The NMAX155 features a 155-cm3 liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, single-cylinder, 4-valve FI engine focused on high-efficiency combustion, high cooling performance, and loss reduction. This engine was developed and set up based on Yamaha's original BLUE CORE engine design concept, which strives to take riding enjoyment, fuel efficiency, and environmental performance to a whole new level. It uses a forged aluminum piston, all-aluminum DiASil cylinder, offset cylinder, and variable valve actuation (VVA) mechanism to promote high-efficiency combustion. These elements combine to deliver a powerful ride, excellent fuel efficiency, and superb acceleration feel.
Making the Engine Lighter and Smaller
The Smart Motor Generator System controls the direction in which an electric current flows toward the starter generator to allow it to function both as a generator and starter motor. As a result, the engine can operate without a conventional starter motor and gears, making it approximately 900 g lighter and smaller.
Stop & Start System
This system reduces fuel consumption by immediately stopping the engine when the vehicle is stopped at a red light, etc., and also ensures the restart is quiet. It improves fuel efficiency by approximately 9%.
Battery-less Fuel Injection
Our new outboard features a battery-less fuel injection system for easy engine starts even under harsh operating conditions, as well as enhanced acceleration performance.
Blow-by Gas Reburning System*
We adopted the blow-by gas reburning system* as an environmental measure to achieve clean exhaust that meets the 2008 emission standards of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), 2010 emission standards of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and EU marine emission standards.
* The engine oil mixed into blow-by gas is separated, and only the fuel is sent back to the combustion chamber via the intake system. This keeps the exhaust gas clean because oil is not burned during the combustion process.
Electrically Power Assisted Bicycle Topics
Yamaha Receives Japan's Technology Management and Innovation Award
Ever since we developed the world's first electrically power assisted bicycle and put it on the market in 1993, we have made various improvements in subsequent models by incorporating new technologies. Along the way, we have acquired a broader user base, created a new category of product that is neither a bicycle nor a motorcycle, and fulfilled the initial development objectives of contributing to society and the resolution of social issues. In recognition of these accomplishments, we received the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry award at the 8th Technology Management and Innovation Awards, an event hosted by the Japan Techno-Economics Society.
Development and Promotion of Next-generation Mobility Options
It is widely believed that global warming is caused by a rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere. The international community is moving toward the creation of a carbon-free society in order to make this planet and the next generation of ecosystems sustainable. This means that CO2 emissions from burning oil, coal, and other fossil fuels used as an energy source by humans must be reduced to zero or negative by 2050. Countries and territories around the world are encouraging the use of fuel-efficient motorcycles and tightening emission standards, while developing the necessary infrastructure to lay the groundwork for the next generation of mobility society and popularization of electric motorcycles.
1980s Mark the Start of Efforts to Address Global Environmental Issues
We have constantly pursued the creation of new value in a variety of fields including mobility. In 1993, we released PAS, the world's first electrically power assisted bicycle marketed as a personal commuter vehicle that is both people-friendly and environmentally friendly. Then in 2002, we introduced Passol, an environmentally friendly electric scooter for urban commuters. Subsequently, we went on to electrify various product categories, including golf cars, wheelchairs, and outboards. For many years, we have worked to provide a fulfilling life to people all over the world, making sure that we, as a manufacturer of transportation equipment, meet our social responsibility of consideration for the environment through our businesses and products.
Medium-term (2019–2021) Electric Product Strategy
In the Long-term Vision and Medium-term Management Plan announced at the end of 2019, we specified resource and environmental issues as one of the material social issues that we can help to address by leveraging our strengths. Under the old Environmental Plan, we aimed to reduce CO2 emissions from our products by 50% by 2050 from 2010 levels. (After the Plan review, our aim is to achieve carbon neutrality (net-zero carbon emissions).) The EC-05 represents the first launch under the electric product strategy in this Medium-term Management Plan period, with more releases to come. The EC-05 is the fifth electric motorcycle launched by Yamaha Motor, after the Passol in 2002, the EC-02 in 2005, the EC-03 in 2010, and the E-Vino in 2014.
Creating Solutions in the Unique Style of Yamaha
Currently, we are witnessing a step change in how people travel and how goods are transported. "Connected," "autonomous," "shared," and "electric" (CASE) are the keywords that represent the four interlinked elements behind the innovative technologies and services that are driving this transformation. At Yamaha Motor, we are working to create solutions that address such themes as "a new relationship between humans and vehicles," "rebuilding of traffic infrastructure in urban and depopulated areas," and "ideal forms of mobility in an aging society," which have become matters of global concern, particularly in developed countries. In this effort, we are building on a foundation of our technologies and know-how cultivated over the years, ever since our foundation, in relation to motorcycles and various other means of mobility, and combining the latest robotics technologies that realize automation and autonomy.
An autonomous riding robot capable of operating a motorcycle designed for humans and riding around a racetrack at high speeds, as an approach to completely automated operation.
A proof-of-concept experimental electric motorcycle that features AI to enable balance control when stationary and moving at low speeds, as well as automated riding.
A prototype model equipped with hydrogen fuel cells that proposes the next generation of last-mile mobility.
An autonomous vehicle aimed at realizing a new service system for traveling a short distance, using an original approach applying the technologies and know-how developed with golf cars. (Concept model)
A compact electric vehicle with twin front wheels that is ridden standing up. Makes last-mile mobility a fun and exciting experience. (Field test model)
A concept model of a mobility vehicle that anyone can enjoy.
Reduction of CO2 Emissions from Production Operations
Our main initiative with respect to CO2 emissions from production operations has been the rollout of the Global Utility Cost Reduction Project (Theoretical Value Energy Project), for energy conservation at Group companies in Japan and overseas. This project builds on the energy conservation expertise accumulated in Japan by sharing this know-how with overseas Group companies and working together to reduce CO2 emissions across the Group.
As part of our activities in 2020, we introduced a cloud monitoring system on the crankshaft processing line at the Hamakita Factory as a new energy-saving technology and worked on an energy visualization model.
Crankshaft Processing Line
The average power consumption has been reduced from 195kw to 105kw (-46%) by stopping when unnecessary and automatically stopping the motor.
Total Global CO2 Emissions and CO2 Emissions per Unit Sales
In 2020, our total global CO2 emissions were 442,533 t-CO2, with Asia (51%) and Japan (32%) combined accounting for 83% of the total.
Under the old Environmental Plan, we carried out our activities after setting the reduction of production-phase CO2 emissions by 50% per net sales by 2050 (tons of CO2 / net sales), from 2010 levels, as the target. (After the Plan review, our aim is to achieve carbon neutrality (net-zero carbon emissions).) In 2020, we achieved a reduction of 41.2%, far exceeding the year's target of 15.9%.
Boundary: 134 companies within the scope of global environmental consolidation
Total Global CO2 Emissions (Scope 1 + 2)
CO2 Emissions by Region and Scope
Reduction of CO2 Emissions from Distribution Operations
We are working to improve transportation efficiency with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions from distribution operations. We are also taking active steps to monitor CO2 emissions from distribution operations at overseas locations in a Groupwide effort to promote reduction activities.
Monitoring CO2 Emissions from Distribution Operations at Overseas Locations
In 2020, 206,551 tons of CO2 were emitted globally from distribution operations. By monitored scope, sales distribution involving the export and import of finished products accounted for the largest share at 33%. This was followed by procurement and production distribution involving the transportation of parts and raw materials, which accounted for 24%. In particular, global sales of motorcycle models manufactured at overseas factories are increasing year after year, so we will continue to promote and monitor our global efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from distribution operations.
Addressing Scope 3 Emissions
At Yamaha Motor, as part of our efforts to reduce the CO2 emissions of the whole supply chain, we are striving to monitor not only our own CO2 emissions (Scopes 1, 2), but all emissions related to our business activities, including sourcing of raw materials, transportation, business trips and commuting of employees, use of products by customers, and disposal (Scope 3).