The team at Mazda seems to think that they can save the combustion engine. They believe that they cracked the holy grail of internal combustion engines by combining the best elements of traditional gasoline powerplants with diesel engines. The secret sauce lies in the engine’s ability to compress gas to an incredibly high level that it can ignite without any spark required, just like a diesel engine. The Mazda SKYACTIV-X is the first gasoline engine to use compression ignition.
The R & D team at Mazda has apparently figured out how to get the fuel-to-air mixture just right for gasoline, as opposed to diesel. The big deal here is that you could potentially get the performance of diesel engine’s fuel economy while not emitting harmful nitrogen oxide and other pollutants.
The Mazda SKYACTIV-X can ramp up both torque and fuel efficiency by over 30% over its current gas engines. The company is not walking away from its electric powertrain research and will continue to invest in alternative fuel options, but it also said that it’s incumbent on the company to continue to find new and innovative ways to work with the gasoline powertrains while they are still in use. Compression ignition is a huge leap forward in fuel efficiency for traditional automobiles, and, if the specifications hold up in real-world driving conditions, a big win for consumers and air quality.