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Mazda Announces Breakthrough in Engine Technology

Mazda Announces Breakthrough in Engine TechnologyMazda Announces Breakthrough in Engine Technology

Mazda Motor Corp said it would become the world's first automaker to commercialize a much more efficient petrol engine using technology that deep-pocketed rivals have been trying to engineer for decades, a twist in an industry increasingly going electric.

The new compression ignition engine is 20% to 30% more fuel efficient than the Japanese automaker's current engines and uses a technology that has eluded the likes of Daimler AG and General Motors Co, Reuters reported.

Mazda, with a research and development (R&D) budget a fraction of those of major peers, said it plans to sell cars with the new engine from 2019. The announcement places traditional engines at the center of Mazda's strategy and comes just days after Mazda said it will work with Toyota Motor Corp to develop electric vehicles and build a $1.6 billion US assembly plant.

"We think it is an imperative and fundamental job for us to pursue the ideal internal combustion engine," Mazda R&D head Kiyoshi Fujiwara told reporters. "Electrification is necessary but... the internal combustion engine should come first."

A homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine ignites petrol through compression, eliminating spark plugs. Its fuel economy potentially matches that of a diesel engine without high emissions of nitrogen oxides or sooty particulates.

Mazda's engine employs spark plugs under certain conditions, such as at low temperatures, to overcome technical hurdles that have hampered commercialization of the technology.

The engine is called SKYACTIV-X and Mazda had no plans to supply the engine to other carmakers, Executive Vice President Akira Marumoto said.

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