General Motors recently reiterated its commitment to diesel-powered engines, but at the same time, a small Japanese automaker has announced plans for a breakthrough technology.
The Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition engine has been touted as a final frontier for the internal-combustion engine, and Mazda is poised to be the first automaker to perfect the engineering. The Japanese automaker revealed plans to introduce an HCCI engine for 2019, likely in its Mazda 3 compact car first.
HCCI engines run on gasoline but rely on sparkless ignition via compression, much like diesel engines. The greater efficiency comes from a leaner air and fuel mix, which is burned at a lower temperature. Therefore, the reduction in heat energy lost over a normal gasoline engine is significant. How significant, you may ask? Mazda estimates 20-30 percent efficiency gains over its current Skyactiv engines.
Further translation: this engine will likely be capable of matching or exceeding current efficiency levels from diesel-powered engines. Imagine returning 52 MPG—as is the case in the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel—while still burning gasoline. Mazda also plans to use superchargers to further improve efficiency and torque figures another 10 to 30 percent over its current engines.
The milestone is a significant one from a rather small player in the vast automotive industry. GM certainly has a very different strategy laid out through electric cars and diesel-powered vehicles. Mazda’s moves to further refine gasoline-powered engines may also be a new lease on life for the traditional internal-combustion engine.