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Mazda Leads Breakthrough in Engine Tech
Mazda Leads Breakthrough in Engine Tech

Mazda Leads Breakthrough in Engine Technology

Mazda Leads Breakthrough in Engine Technology

In the high-stakes, high-cost battle among global automakers to develop ever more efficient vehicles, one of the biggest breakthroughs in internal combustion engine technology in years looks to be coming from one of the industry’s smaller players.
Japan’s Mazda Motor Corp has zoomed past its larger global rivals to develop an engine that ignites gasoline using combustion ignition technology, a fuel-saving process considered something of a holy grail of efficient gasoline engines, Reuters reported.
As global emissions regulations get tougher, not only could Mazda’s technology prolong the life of internal combustion engines, it could also improve “greener” engines as they can be used to produce more efficient gasoline hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Mazda will showcase the Skyactiv-X technology at the Tokyo Motor Show this week. When it launches the engine in 2019, the automaker says it will deliver as much as 30% fuel efficiency over its Skyactiv-G engine, already one of the most fuel efficient gasoline engines on the market.
“Our resources are limited, so unlike bigger automakers, we don’t have the array of options in which to invest our R&D funds,” said Mitsuo Hitomi, managing executive officer at Mazda who oversees engine development.
“That’s why we’re betting on this technology ... We were determined that no matter what, we would develop this engine,” Hitomi said.
Churning out around 1.6 million in annual vehicle sales, Mazda accounts for only a sliver of global car sales, and its R&D budget is roughly a tenth that of automaking giant Toyota Motor Corp.
Many automakers with big spending budgets have invested heavily in developing a host of new powertrain technologies, including gasoline hybrids, battery electric cars and fuel cell vehicles, as fuel efficient alternatives to gasoline and diesel vehicles.
But Mazda believes fuel-sipping engines are a better way to reduce carbon emissions than cars powered by fossil fuel-generated electricity, focusing on the Skyactiv-G high-compression gasoline engine, and its diesel cousin, the Skyactiv-D.
Its latest technology is a variant of homogeneous charge combustion ignition (HCCI) technology, which marries the clean-burning qualities of gasoline engines and the fuel economy and grunt of diesel engines to produce an efficient, powerful engine.

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