Next-gen Mazda SkyActiv Engines Could Be Cleaner Than EVs


2012 Mazda3 SKYACTIV engine

Can a gas-powered car be cleaner than an electric vehicle? Mazda thinks so, claiming the next-gen of SkyActiv engines will emit fewer emissions than EVs. And they could do it, if you look at the entire well-to-wheel emissions picture, through the use of super-efficient engines and mild hybrid systems that do away with heavy battery packs.

Not to take anything away from Mazda’s excellent line of SkyActiv gasoline engines. These super-efficient motors use high-compression, direct injection, and other fuel-saving technologies to improve MPGs, with the added benefit of extra Zoom-zoom as well. These high-tech engines has given Mazda the most fuel-efficient line of cars in America. Engineers are aiming for diesel-like fuel economy from its gasoline engines, and Gen 2 SkyActiv will up the ante further.

Where the current SkyActiv engines have a compression of 14:1, the next generation will approach 18:1 compression (until recently, most gasoline cars had single-digit compression ratios). Combined with friction-reduction technology and further improvements in fuel deliverly, these improvements will lead to a 30% boost in thermal efficiency and fuel economy. Mazda claims it can bring well-to-wheel vehicle CO2 emissions, of an unspecified “average” Mazda, down to just 80g/km.

Beyond that, the Gen 3 SkyActiv engines will utilize further-improved mild hybrid and supercapacitor systems that draw almost no energy from the engines, while dropping emissions down to just 60g/km. By taking batteries out of the equation, these vehicles will be lighter and thus more efficient. With the hybrid system active, well-to-wheel emissions could be just 50g/kkm, equivalent to the Mazda2 EV. That’s making assumptions about the EV’s power source, however, and with the increasing popularity and efficiency of solar panels, a truly zero-emissions electric vehicle is no longer a fantasy.

Still, you’ve got to applaud Mazda for aiming high, and it isn’t like gasoline engines are going to disappear anytime soon. We might as well make them as efficient as possible as long as we’re stuck with them, right?

Source: AutoCar

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • hugoalves

    While I applaud their effort to reduce emissions, I find this kind of statement appalling. Gas engines will never be cleaner than EVs.

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  • mrmagoo

    Hugo- really? appalling? – I find it troublesome that some many people like yourself fail to realize that the “E” in “EV” stands for electricity – which is neither free and typically is not zero emissions. so unless you have a wind farm or solar array on your property, then yes a highly advanced gas engine could have less (holistically speaking) emissions than your EV, plugged in to your local coal fired power plant.

  • AaronD12

    They must be comparing electricity generation using coal to their new vehicles. My next house will have solar panels. There is no way their cars will be cleaner than my sunshine-powered EV.

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