The Japanese carmaker has bold claims about its ground-breaking technology with efficiency at its forefront. With a statement like that you’d be expecting news about a novel EV or hybrid, but that is not the case with Mazda ’s SKYACTIV tech. Instead they have somewhat re-engineered conventional platforms and technology that make up basic internal combustion. It’s safe to say then, that the results are quite impressive. SKYACTIV centers around optimizing all aspects of a vehicle: chassis and suspension, engine and transmission, and of course, the body.
Takashi Yamanouchi, President and CEO, said, "Mazda is renewing its entire powertrain and platform lineup at the same time as revolutionizing every manufacturing process from R&D through to mass production. There have been no compromises in addressing conflicting goals. Instead, we have implemented a ’breakthrough’ approach to technical innovation in all areas that has produced incredible, unexpected results. One of our success stories is the next-generation engine that will first appear in the Mazda Demio (Mazda2 elsewhere). Achieving an outstanding 30 kilometers per liter fuel economy, the SKYACTIV Demio will be a fun-to-drive fuel sipper that will satisfy anyone’s desire for driving pleasure. And there will be many more exciting new products coming to the Mazda lineup in the years ahead."
Hit the jump for details and the full story.
The success story Mr Yamanouchi speaks of, are two engine variations, namely, the SKYACTIV G and D models – G standing for gasoline and D obviously for diesel. The biggest differences lay in the compression ratios of the engines themselves – so no re-inventing the piston just yet. The usual compression ratio of a gasoline engine is typically between 10.5 and 12 for the high performance stuff like the BMW M3 . The new Mazda mill features the world’s highest compression ratio for a mass produced engine at 14:1, which is good for power, but can suffer from symptoms such as engine knock. They have developed an ingenious way around that and along the way have managed a 15% reduction in fuel consumption. The high compression has been made possible by the use of cavity pistons and “multihole” injectors among others.
The SKYACTIV D is next-generation clean diesel engine that will meet global emissions regulations without expensive NOx after treatments thanks to the world’s lowest diesel engine compression ratio of 14.0:1. A new two-stage turbocharger realizes smooth and linear response from low to high engine speeds, and greatly increases low and high-end torque (up to the 5,200 rpm rev limit). The low compression ratio also facilitates a 20% reduction in fuel consumption.
The next-generation automatic transmission by Mazda achieves excellent torque transfer efficiency through a wider lock-up range and features the best attributes of all transmission types: conventional automatic transmissions, continuously variable transmissions, and dual clutch variations. The changes have resulted in a 4 to 7 percent improvement in fuel economy compared to the current setup. The manual version also sees improvements in fuel consumption due to lower internal friction and its compact size and weight.
The body has not been left untouched either, with emphasis placed on rigidity and lightness. Thanks to the liberal use of a new bonding method and hi-tensile steel, the body is now 8% lighter and 30% firmer. This should equate to better handling, higher crash safety, and no doubt contributes towards the impressive fuel consumption figure of 3.5 liters per 100 kms.
The new chassis features a newly developed front strut and rear multilink suspension which ensures high rigidity and lightness - the entire chassis is 14 percent lighter than the previous version along with mid-speed agility and high-speed stability. New mounting points and steering components also contribute to a smoother, more refined ride quality.
All SKYACTIV developments are available on 2011 models of the Demio (Mazda2) and should infiltrate the rest of the model lineup by 2015.