Mazda's Upcoming SkyActiv-3 Engine Will Be As Clean As Any EV

Technology / 14 Comments

Internal combustion ain't dead yet thanks to these guys.

As the automotive industry takes a dash-like approach to developing electric vehicles, one automaker remains unconvinced by the technology and has chosen instead to further develop the internal combustion engine. Mazda currently has its SkyActiv engines available in its current lineup, and the SkyActiv-X spark controlled compression ignition engine second-generation tech will go on sale around this time next year. However, Automotive News has learned of yet another future engine technology, the SkyActiv-3.


Like the previous SkyActiv engines, SkyActiv-3 is a gasoline engine that Mazda claims will be as clean as any electric vehicle. Exact details of how Mazda will accomplish this are not yet known, but increasing thermal efficiency is key. Mazda's managing executive officer, Mitsuo Hitomi, told Auto News that if engineers can increase that thermal efficiency by about 27 percent to 56 percent, the resulting emissions will be equal to an EV. Mazda will reportedly measure the carbon dioxide emitted to what it takes to produce electricity for EVs, a process called well-to-wheel emissions. It is then compared to the calculated emissions from the extraction of oil and refining of gasoline.

Basically, Mazda believes that once the required energy activity, the well-to-wheel, is needed to power EVs is taken into account, the entire process can actually be dirtier than a high-tech and modern internal combustion engine. More, not less, carbon dioxide emissions can be emitted by the EV energy production process. Mazda wants to cut C02 emissions by 25 percent in order to give its new engines real world well-to-wheel fuel economy on par with EVs whose energy is achieved by burning liquefied natural gas. No launch date for the SkyActiv-3 engine has been announced, but what's certain is that it will keep the internal combustion engine relevant, at least for Mazda, for years to come.


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