Yamaha wants to enter the electric-car business, but not by developing entire vehicles.

Instead, the Japanese firm announced that it will sell a permanent-magnet synchronous motor to interested companies.

The motor can be tuned to develop anywhere from 35 kilowatts to 200 kw (47 horsepower to 268 hp), according to a Yamaha press release.

Yamaha said it would "customize the prototype to the specific needs of individual customers." The company also released a video of a prototype motor being tested in what appeared to be a camouflaged Alfa Romeo 4C sports car.

In stock form, the 4C is powered by a 1.7-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine, making 237 hp.

As a small two-seater with carbon-fiber construction, the 4C is similar to one of Yamaha's previous automotive experiments.

Unveiled at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, the Yamaha Sports Ride concept was a sports car based on legendary car designer Gordon Murray's iStream carbon-fiber architecture.

Yamaha Sports Ride concept, 2015 Tokyo Motor Show

Yamaha Sports Ride concept, 2015 Tokyo Motor Show

Yamaha never discussed the powertrain, however, so it's unclear if the Sports Ride was electric. It followed another Murray/Yamaha collaboration—the Motiv-E, a small electric city car intended for Asian markets.

Neither car ever made it to production, and Yamaha confirmed in October 2019 that it had suspended all projects to develop complete cars.

It seems the company is refocusing to supply electric powertrains to existing automakers.

This wouldn't be the first time Yamaha has acted as a powertrain supplier to other companies. Yamaha previously helped supply V-8 engines for the Ford Taurus SHO through the 1990s, and then for the Volvo S80 and XC90 until 2011.

The company also built engines for Formula One racing in the 1990s, but did not achieve much success on track.