Mazda is working with a new ignition process in hopes of improving the fuel efficiency of its gasoline engines by 50 percent.
Currently, the efficiency of the Japanese automaker’s gasoline engines is a healthy 40 percent, but Mazda is aiming to improve that figure to 60 percent by 2020.
According to Autocar, Mazda is developing its homogeneous charge compression ignition technology (HCCI), where the mixture is ignited by compression rather than a spark, similar to a diesel engine. As a result, the technology will require raising the compression ratio from about 14.0:1 to 18.0:1 with a precise control of the combustion chamber in order to avoid engine knock. Mazda hopes the technology combines the cleaner emissions of a gasoline engine with the fuel economy of a diesel.
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That’s not all Mazda is doing, as the Skyactiv engine program is also investigating how to reduce heat lost through the exhaust system, which typically saps about 30 percent of the fuel’s energy. Mazda is investigating numerous solutions to the problem but can’t say which will become production.
Most recently, Mazda announced a partnership with Toyota that could lead to a plug-in hybrid model, although the automaker believes its traditional gasoline cars could eventually match the performance of an electrified vehicle for wheel-to-wheel efficiency.
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