Japanese automaker Mazda has announced that it will be bringing a new super-efficient gasoline engine to market.
This new engine is being called ‘SKYACTIV-X’ by the company and will reportedly offer increases in fuel efficiency of between 20-30%.
To achieve this, SKYACTIV-X is the first commercial gasoline engine to use compression ignition, in which the fuel-air mixture ignites spontaneously when compressed by the piston.
While in the past this technology has been held back by difficulties in igniting the engine, Mazda claims to have developed a new proprietary ignition system which underpins the new engine.
As well, the new engine is claimed to produce significantly increased torque and responsiveness when compared to more traditional designs.
This kind of compression ignition engine has long been a holy grail for automakers, making it all the more impressive that Mazda, a relatively small company, managed to be the first to commercialize this technology.
With competitors in Japan and the US moving rapidly towards building electric vehicles, Mazda still believes there will be an interim role for super-efficient gasoline powered cars.
“We think it is an imperative and fundamental job for us to pursue the ideal internal combustion engine,” Mazda R&D head Kiyoshi Fujiwara told reporters according to Reuters.
“Electrification is necessary but… the internal combustion engine should come first.”
Additionally, even if electric vehicles become more and more popular into the future, there will be a large market as well for hybrids like Toyota’s highly successful Prius.
Such vehicles could easily make use of the SKYACTIV-X engine to power them, further boosting their fuel economy and their environmental credentials.
In European countries as well, the deployment of these engines will only serve to hasten the downfall of diesel fuelled vehicles, which can no longer be seen as relatively ‘green’ in terms of greenhouse emissions.
The first such vehicles to use this technology will be released by Mazda in 2019, however, so far it is not known which exact vehicles these will be.