We have all heard of Mazda’s new Skyactiv-X engine technology, even if it has not gone on sale yet. And despite that, the Japanese automaker has already begun a new major internal combustion project, which they are calling the Skyactiv 3. What they plan for this is to boost the powerplant’s thermal efficient to around 56 percent, and this will deliver a well to wheel emissions on par with an EV, says Automotive News.
This claim by Mazda was made based on the carbon dioxide emissions from producing electricity for charging an electric vehicle versus pumping oil out of the ground to turn this into gasoline.
However, the main issue with this calculation is that there are a number of ways to produce electricity, and each way produces a different amount of carbon dioxide. For instance, it will definitely be cleaner to get power from renewable resources rather than getting power from a region with a coal-fired powerplant.
The automaker did say that there is no definite date as to when the Skyactiv 3 engine will be ready for the market. Despite that, the automaker is confident that their new innovation can reduce CO2 emissions by 25 percent, says Automotive News.
Speaking of timelines, while the automaker is still studying the Skyactiv 3, the Skyactiv-X technology is already under production, and we can expect these to arrive in showrooms within a few years. This will be the first compression-ignition gasoline engine that will be available in the market. Similar to diesels, this process will compress the fuel-air mixture in the cylinder until it explodes. At the same time, its technology should boost fuel economy by 20 to 30 percent, while improving torque by 10 to 20 percent by a conventional 2.0 liter engine running on 87 octane fuel.
A source who has test driven the Mazda 3 said that he was impressed by the feeling of driving it - the 2.0 liter engine feels normal. At the same time, it is pretty calm and responsive, revs easily, and has a strong low-end power with a very direct feeling torque curve as the revs rise. He compares it to most situations where there is no solid evidence that anything is different.
Having said all that, Mazda still is not a hundred percent sure about putting all their bets on the combustion engines. In fact, even the Skyactiv-X mills are mild hybrids, and the company still has plans of introducing full electric vehicles in 2020. And in the next decade, we should expect a plug-in hybrid from them.
Speaking of new engines, Toyota has their own 2.5 liter “Dynamic Force” engine that allegedly has a thermal efficiency of 40 percent in gas vehicles and 41 percent in hybrids.