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I just read on the cartech blog at cnet that Mazda has come up with an ambitious plan to provide hybrid like fuel economy through conventional fuel technology.
Christened SkyActive on the lines of earlier Mazda models Sky-G gasoline and Sky-D diesel engines, Mazda CEO unveiled the company’s plans with much gusto stating that the technologies would include better and lighter chassis and vehicle body designs, direct injection diesel and gasoline engines and transmissions.
The move is Mazda’s attempt to keep up with competitors such as Toyota and Nissan who have considerably higher RD budgets. Mazda is trying to cash in on the improvement of tried and tested methods instead of investing in the development of new technologies.
A spokesperson for the company said that the newly rechristened SkyActiv-G gasoline engine may be available in some Mazda models as early as next years. In a bold move, Mazda also revealed that consumers can expect fuel consumption of 70 mpg in the Mazda 2 which puts it at par with the hybrid engine models available from competitors such as Honda.
The company has achieved the fuel efficiency through the use of the direct injection technology. Because fuel is directly injected into the combustion chamber in such engines, greater fuel economy and performance can be achieved as opposed to regular engines where the fuel is injected upstream in the intake port.
This transmission adds another 7 percent to the fuel efficiency which is further accentuated by the body structure and the chassis.
Mazda’s plans may also have been motivated by the dwindling stakes of Ford in the company. A long term partner Ford has reduced its stakes in the company to a mere 3% with further disinvestment expected. Mazda of course has no plans to share its newfound approach to fuel efficiency with Ford.
The really exiting part is that Mazda plans to incorporate SkyActiv technologies in all their models by 2015 which means the hybrids will have some tough competition from cheaper conventional technology in the years to come.