Mazda is currently known for its line of sporty vehicles, but is
currently lagging its competitors in fuel economy. To remedy that,
the company is implementing a complete redesign of its four-cylinder
engines that will see them paired with new small and light six-speed
The new direct-injection
gasoline engines will have a combination of smaller displacement,
higher power output, and greater efficiency. The fuel injector is
placed in the combustion chamber of a direct-injection engine, as
opposed to the intake valve in a conventional fuel-injected engine.
Mazda is also combining its direct-injection engines with a new
electric high-pressure fuel pump and variable intake and exhaust
valve timing that will allow more optimal combustion in a wider
rev range. The company plans to incorporate these
developments into its rotary engines.
Seita Kanai, the head of
Mazda's R&D department, said that the redesign of Mazda's 2.0
liter four-cylinder engines paired with the new transmissions would
result in a fuel economy increase to 32 mpg from 22 mpg in the city.
Highway fuel economy would increase to 42 mpg from 32 mpg.
not confirming the use of dual-clutch technology, Kanai stated
that the next-generation automatic transmission would
provide the quick, direct shift quality of a
double-clutch transmission system. "No slip means there
won't be wasteful heat generation," enthused
engine cut-off, regenerative braking, electric power steering,
and electric water pumps are just some of the technologies also being
considered for inclusion in the company's quest for fuel economy. If
Mazda does decide to adopt these technologies across its entire
production line, economies of scale could enable the company
to bring them to market at a lower cost than other vehicle
manufacturers. BMW has already implemented many of these technologies
in its "EfficientDynamics" program.
particularly enthusiastic last year about idle-stop technologies when
about its plans last year, but has been forced to scale back its
hype. The Environmental Protection Agency doesn't account for the
technology during its fuel economy testing, which can reduce fuel
consumption by up to ten percent. Mazda doesn't want to foot the bill
for installing it if it can't market it to consumers.
reduction is also an important component of Mazda's plan. An
additional 3-5 mpg could be achieved through the use of lighter
structural materials and new bonding technologies. Mazda will also
use its single nanotech catalyst, which reduces the need for
expensive palladium and platinum in the catalytic converter by 70-90
There is a catch though to all of the new
technologies though. Robert Davis, Senior Vice President of Mazda's
North American Operations R&D, said that the new powertrains
cannot be retrofitted to any of its existing product lines.
Therefore, the new engines and transmissions will be incorporated
into the company's new models as they are developed and introduced.
The redesigned MX-5 Miata convertible or Mazda5 are the
most likely to integrate the new technologies first. The
entire model lineup will be equipped with the new engines by
"We want to provide this technology to all
owners, not just through a few eco-friendly vehicles," stated
Kanai during a media briefing.
Mazda is also considering
bringing new diesel engines to the North American market. However, it
does not currently have an automatic transmission for diesel engines.