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Mazda tips further fuel savings

Green future: The all-new Mazda6 will feature SkyActiv technology when it arrives in 2013.

Tech chief believes SkyActiv can deliver Mazda a further 30 per cent fuel saving

1 Oct 2012


MAZDA has set a target of another 30 per cent drop in fuel use and emissions within five years under its SkyActiv technology program.

The company’s vice-president of European research and development, Ichiro Hirose, told Australian media including GoAuto at last week’s Paris motor show it was possible to achieve this improvement.

“Next generation technologies should deliver an additional 30 per cent improvement,” he said.

“Our target is approximately five years or so, maybe quicker than that.”

He said CCI (charge compression ignition) combustion technology would need to be applied in the future to achieve these levels of improvement.

Mr Hirose also said Mazda would continue to develop normally aspirated petrol engines that were better in “real world” traffic conditions than the strategy of using turbocharging and higher top gears to simply produce good test-cycle results like some rival car-makers.

“Some companies’ first target is how to show a good number, but real world economy is something that shows the discrepancy,” he said.

 center imageFrom top: Mazda CX-5 Mazda3.

“That is one of the reasons why we are sticking with the naturally aspirated engines rather than going with boosted downsized concepts.

“According to our test results, if we drive freely according to the driver’s intention, once you go on the freeway and hit the gas pedal the economy gets worse and I think that is a problem for the customers.

“We have wider range of the good fuel economy with the naturally aspirated engines.

“If we go into smaller capacity engines, we would stay with normally aspirated and still have benefits.”

Mazda has already introduced a 1.3-litre SkyActiv engine to the Japanese market in the Mazda2 that, along with the Mazda3, is likely to benefit next from the company’s new powertrain technology.

Global boss Takashi Yamanouchi confirmed at the Paris motor show last week that every Mazda passenger car line would exclusively have SkyActiv engine, transmission and chassis technology by 2016.

The first all-SkyActiv model was the CX-5 that launched in Australia in February this year and the second will be the third-generation Mazda6 that arrives in the first quarter of 2013.

These will be followed by the next-generation versions of the Mazda2 and Mazda3, followed by the MX-5 roadster and CX-9 large SUV.

In terms of the Mazda3, there is no word yet on the future of the high-performance MPS version, which is currently turbocharged.

Mr Hirose said he was “not clear” about a future SkyActiv version of the MPS.

Despite Mazda’s well-recorded financial problems in recent times, the company continues to invest heavily in powertrain development, according to Mazda Australia public relations manager Steve Maciver.

“In terms of powertrain development technology, that’s a huge part of the business moving forward so we haven’t been holding back on that,” he said.

“That’s really important.

“The plan is that everything gets SkyActiv technology over the next couple of years – every passenger car, the whole range will get that, so by about 2016 the whole line-up will have SkyActiv, including Mazda2.”

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