Mazda is already known to have one of the most efficient gas/diesel-powered cars on sale today, thanks to its Skyactiv Technology, but they’re taking things to a whole new level. As many car manufacturers race to beat Tesla Motors at its own electric car game, Mazda still believes the internal combustion engine has not yet reached its peak in terms of fuel efficiency, and proof of this is their new Skyactiv-X engine.
“We think it is an imperative and fundamental job for us to pursue the ideal internal combustion engine,” Mazda R&D head Kiyoshi Fujiwara said. “Electrification is necessary, but the internal combustion engine should come first.”
The highlight of Skyactiv-X is its Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) aided by a controlled spark plug, with the entire technology being called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SCCI), a technology that all of its rivals with substantially higher R&D budgets have been unable to do. What HCCI does is it ignites petroleum fuel through extremely high compression ratios, negating the need for a spark plug. Basically, the recipe sounds like how a diesel engine operates, as diesels also lack a spark plug. Unlike diesels, though, which emit higher soot and nitrogen oxides (NOx) (which is why many European cities are proposing to ban diesels due to diesels being a bigger contributor to smog), HCCI does not have an increase in NOx and soot emissions, as the technology still relies on petroleum.
The purpose of the spark plug is to overcome the deficiencies of HCCI technology, such as during low temperatures.
The new engine is about 20-30% more fuel efficient than current petrol engines, which is a huge gain, making this petrol engine just as fuel efficient as diesel engines, minus the diesel’s higher soot and NOx emissions.
Fitted with a supercharger, Skyactiv-X also claims to have 10-30% better engine response and a better torque and horsepower curve. This engine overall represents an across the board improvement in power, torque, and fuel efficiency, the main pillars of Mazda for providing fun-to-drive and fuel efficient cars.
Mazda said they have no plans on providing this breakthrough technology to rival carmakers. Expect to see this engine on all Mazdas starting in 2019.
Mazda said that they’ll still be working on developing electric vehicles and electrified vehicles (hybrids/mild hybrids) in countries where in the future, the sale of car with an internal combustion engine will be banned altogether. In addition, they said that by 2025, they seek to make autonomous driving features to be standard.
See full presentation here.