Already hailed for their efficiency, Mazda’s “Skyactiv” engines are bound for a second and third generation aimed at further improving fuel economy.
The company began rolling its line of high compression ratio gasoline engines out in North America in 2011 before proliferating across much of the Mazda portfolio. But the brand is already looking ahead to increasingly stringent emissions standards for 2020 and 2025 in Europe, the first of which will require 95 grand of carbon dioxide per kilometer before battening that figure down to 65 grams five years later.
Mazda hasn’t provided a timeline for introducing the new engines, but powertrain development executive Mitsuo Hitomi said the changing standard slated for 2020 will be “the next step.”
Part of the plan for improved fuel economy will include an even higher 18:1 compared to the already high 14:1 ratio used in current “Skyactiv-G” gasoline engines. Engines with higher compression ratios can be more efficient by running on a leaner mixture of fuel.
The engines will use something called homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) to ignite the air-fuel mixture within the combustion chamber without using a spark plug similarly to how diesel engines operate. Mazda isn’t the only company working on such a technology, either. Hyundai is also currently working on its own line of HCCI engines as well.
Last month, the U.S. EPA named Mazda the most fuel efficient automaker with a fleetwide adjusted fuel economy of 27.1 mpg for the 2012 model year.
For SkyActiv3, Mazda will look at limiting heat fluctuation in the combustion chamber to reduce losses from exhaust and cooling to make more energy available for powering the wheels. The company is aiming for well-to-wheel carbon emissions on par with electric vehicles.
[Source: Automotive News]
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