Mazda wants next-gen SkyActiv engines to match hybrid fuel economy
Mazda has detailed plans for the next generation of the firm’s fuel-efficient SkyActiv engines.
According to the Japanese press, the second-gen SkyActiv engines will arrive in cars for the 2018 model year, two years earlier than originally expected. Hitomi Mitsuo, a lead developer of the project, thinks there will be a 30 percent improvement above the already thrifty first-generation SkyActiv engines. That would mean petrol engine mileage on par with hybrid vehicle technology, a stated goal of Mitsuo’s.
One of the ways Mazda intends to get there is with the use of homogenous charge compression ignition, or HCCI. The process squeezes the fuel-air mixture at such high pressures that it can ignite without the aid of a sparkplug. The process, however, does generate more heat and cannot be sustained across a broad range of engine speeds, two issues Mazda engineers are in the midst of tackling. HCCI uses a significantly smaller ratio of fuel than traditional engines, and burns more cleanly as well. The reduction in emissions is necessary to meet European 2020 clean air standards.
In the meantime, plans are also being made to mate these SkyActiv engines with Toyota’s hybrid tech, part of the newly minted deal the two companies signed. The combination of the two technologies would give the new partners a noteworthy fuel economy advantage over its rivals.