Skyactiv-X: the gasoline engine has not said its last word

Avto 29 January, 2018
  • Mazda

    Frédéric Mercier

    Saturday, 27-jan-2018 09:15

    Saturday, 27-jan-2018 09:15

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    In the war on CO2 emissions, the automobile manufacturers all seem to be ready to turn to the same solution: electrification. Except that every rule has its exception.

    In the automotive industry, this exception is called Mazda. Relatively small on the chessboard automotive world, Mazda is one of the few manufacturers not to offer any hybrid or electric in Canada. And it does not seem in a hurry to come here.

    Instead of that, Mazda engineers believe that there is still a lot of work to do to reduce fuel consumption and polluting emissions of gasoline engines traditional. And that is exactly what we want to do with the new Skyactiv-X.

    To operate, an internal combustion engine needs a mixture of air and gasoline. Then, a spark plug to create a spark that triggers the”explosion”. It’s been over 100 years that it works like that.

    With its new Skyactiv-X, Mazda wants it to change. A little, at least. By increasing the compression ratio of his engine at 16:1, the japanese manufacturer has tried to create an engine that, to the mere force of its compression, is capable of creating an explosion even without the need of a candle.

    Frédéric Mercier


    It is in theory. However, in the life of every day, a multitude of factors make it so that combustion by compression does not occur always at the same time. The outdoor temperature and the humidity level, for example, may come to change that.

    In practice, the new engine, Mazda uses so when even candles which, with the help of a small spark, allow the combustion by compression and, above all, ensure that it occurs at the right time. Then, when the need is not felt, the spark plugs take a break and let the compression work only.

    This new engine signed Mazda is also remarkable in managing to operate with an air/petrol mixture very poor. Basically, we are using less gas and more air, at least in certain situations.

    In comparison with the 2.0-litre engine, which team is currently the Mazda3, Mazda ensures that the Skyactiv-X could improve fuel consumption by up to 20% while providing a greater torque. Better yet, it ensures that the fuel consumption at 3000 rpm is roughly the same as at 2000 rpm. We can therefore push the machine a little more without having to pay the price at the pump.



    A prototype to the test

    The Skyactiv-X is still in development and it will not make his arrival in a production model until next year at the earliest. But it is advanced enough so that we could put it to the test. At the center of research and development of Mazda in Irvine California, it took place aboard a prototype that was equipped. Under the bodywork of a Mazda3 2018, the vehicle to the test was using a new platform which, eventually, will become the backbone of the next generation of the Mazda3.

    Frédéric Mercier


    After a hundred kilometres aboard this prototype is still in development, force is to admit that the motuer Skyactiv-X has everything to succeed.

    As with the automatic transmission than with the manual, we feel the mechanics very unglazed, ready to react at the slightest whim of our right foot. It works and sounds like an ordinary engine.

    Frédéric Mercier


    Unfortunately, no on-board computer only allowed us to calculate the consumption of gasoline. For the time being, it is thus necessary to rely on the words of Mazda. But if the next generation of the Mazda3, for example, manages to reduce its consumption by 15% or 20% compared to the current model, we can actually talk about a little revolution.

    Mazda does anone no longer wanted to confirm (nor deny) that the manual and automatic transmissions with six reports that are currently paired to the prototype will be used in the production version.

    For maximum energy efficiency, the builder might be tempted to opt for a continuously variable transmission (CVT). However, Mazda has recalled that, the driving pleasure remains one of its priorities and that the CVT is not necessarily a good option for that. For the moment, it leaves room for the mystery.

    Mazda intends to begin commercialization of this new engine starting next year. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but it would not be surprising to see the Skyactiv-X to be offered in option under the hood of the Mazda3.