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Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Mazda makes breakthrough in engine tech

Mazda makes breakthrough in engine tech

More immediately relevant to Mazda customers, however, is SKYACTIV-X - the "world's first commercial gasoline engine to use compression ignition", in which the fuel-air mixture ignites under piston pressure.

Mazda, with a research and development (R and D) budget a fraction of those of major peers, said it plans to sell cars with the new engine from 2019.

Yet somewhere among all this future-proof jargon, Mazda still found time to mention the phrase "true driving pleasure". The lean-burning engines will also be supercharged and deliver efficiency on par with similarly-sized diesel engines, the company says. The Toyota agreement will focus on battery electric vehicles, and Mazda's "other electric drive technologies" may include plug-in hybrids and hybrid vehicles. In other words, it's a homogenous charge compression ignition engine sometimes, but it seamlessly changes over to a regular spark-ignition engine under certain engine operating conditions. He added that this enables "better thermal efficiency, improved fuel economy and lower nitrogen oxide emissions". Called Skyactiv-X, the engines will replace the current Skyactiv-G range. In addition, Mazda said that this new type of engine will permit much more latitude in selecting gear ratios, which will benefit fuel economy. It will also increase torque by 10 to 30 percent over the current gasoline engine. Setting it apart from a conventional gasoline engine is that it requires no spark plugs while running. However, it then ignites it by using compression as well as a spark. According to Mazda's release, the engine will also be supercharged.

To that end, Mazda says it is taking a "wheel-to-wheel" approach in its mission to reduce emissions over the vehicle's entire lifecycle, with the aim of achieving a 90 percent reduction by 2050. The company has no plans to supply the engine to other carmakers.

Expected to make its debut in the forthcoming fourth-generation Mazda3, the SkyActiv-X engine should arrive in Australia during 2019 under the bonnet of Mazda's next small vehicle. Known as "Skyactiv-X", it said the technology combined the advantages of petrol and diesel engines to improve efficiency.

Mazda's engine technology was the vehicle maker's "heart", said executive vice-president Akira Muramoto.

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