Mazda’s New Gas Engine Runs Like a Diesel

Has Mazda invented an all-new engine that can revolutionize the world of automobiles?

No, but it might be on the verge of perfecting one.

There are a few articles making their way around the Internet that claim the Japanese automaker has created a gasoline engine that works like a diesel engine. The motor ignites gasoline through compression rather than spark, thus providing the efficiency of a diesel.

It’s true that Mazda has created its version of the almost mythical HCCI engine, short for homogenous charge compression ignition. It didn’t invent the technology, but if its version works, buyers could soon enjoy high efficiency, loads of torque, and nearly guilt-free emissions.

Jalopnik posted a great article about how HCCI engines work and said,

Leave it to a tiny car company like Mazda to pull off something the big players have been trying to figure out for years. That’s the deal with the new “SkyActiv-X” series of engines, which use revolutionary technology to achieve diesel-like fuel economy with gasoline.

Mazda’s motor is different from a traditional HCCI, because it will switch between compression and spark when needed, such as on a cold day when spark ignition is much more efficient. Mazda calls its version of the technology Spark Controlled Compression Ignition.

Automakers have been trying to develop such engine technology for decades, and Mazda is apparently the first to commercialize it. The Japanese automaker said it expects to offer vehicles with the new engine in 2019, but will there be a demand for it?

Even with a 30 percent increase in fuel economy, vehicles equipped with these motors will still fall short of the efficiency found in gas/electric hybrids and, obviously, lag far behind pure EVs. With prices of EVs falling and ranges increasing, it’s becoming pretty clear that the future fuel of choice will be electrons.

That’s not to say that the internal combustion engine is dead. Not even close. Any advancements in the technology that happen between now and whenever gas-powered vehicles sing their swan song will help drivers save on fuel and reduce the amount of emissions spewed into our atmosphere.

Mazda may not be investing heavily in EVs (not publicly anyway), but it has a solid history of building innovative and efficient gas-powered motors, which should benefit the company for many years to come.

Would you choose Mazda’s version of an HCCI engine over a diesel or hybrid?

-tgriffith

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