We get it. Car-makers say they are on board for a next chapter in the electrification of cars and they have teams dedicated to developing cars toward that end. Well-known brands are looking at alternative-fuel solutions such as hybrid or all-electric. It seems as if the internal combustion engine will be on its way out.
But wait. Mazda's engineers have been thinking about the future, aka Skyactiv-3. gasoline-powered vehicles could be around longer than you imagined. As a PCMag headline put it, "The Internal Combustion Engine Isn't Going Anywhere Just Yet."
Kyle Hyatt, news and features editor, Roadshow, summarized the news. "Mazda announced at a technical conference in Tokyo that if it can bump the thermal efficiency of its high-compression Skyactiv-G gasoline engines by 27 percent, to a total of 57 percent, that it can reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent, making its internal combustion engines as clean as electric vehicles."
PCMag columnist Doug Newcomb said, "Mazda has been fine-tuning the good ol' internal-combustion engine (ICE) for better miles per gallon."
Mazda's powertrain chief talked about the future during an automotive technical conference and he called the future engine technology Skyactiv-3.
Mircea Panait wrote on Monday in autoevolution that of all the Japanese automakers out there, Infiniti and Mazda were the most focused on developing internal combustion technology.
Namely, they are working on another generation of Skyactiv high-compression engines, said Automotive News.
This is all about the SkyActiv-3 tech. The priority is to boost the thermal efficiency.
Quoted in Automotive News, Mitsuo Hitomi, Mazda's managing executive officer in charge of powertrain, said that if Mazda can increase the thermal efficiency of its third-generation Skyactiv engine by about 27 percent, to 56 percent, it can achieve emissions on a par with an EV.
David Tracy in Jalopnik said it will "offer efficiency levels that could yield overall CO2 output similar to that of some EVs."
When? "Hitomi did not offer a timeline for delivering the Skyactiv-3 technology," said Hans Greimel, Automotive News.
Actually, Mazda's focus on improving fuel efficiency goes back several years. Newcomb said in PCMag, "It's been successfully doing this via its Skyactiv technology that was introduced in 2011 and, simply put, uses high compression within an engine's cylinders to increase fuel efficiency as well as engine output."
Newcomb also said, "Mazda believes ICE engines will play a prominent role in cars at least until 2050, which is why the automaker hasn't completely climbed on the alt-fuel bandwagon compared to much larger competitors."
Adnan Farooqui weighed in on Tuesday in Ubergizmo. "According to a report, Mazda's 56 percent goal will post a 27 percent improvement in thermal efficiency of existing Mazda engines. It's ambitious to say the least," he said.
"While Mazda is co-developing battery cars with Toyota Motor Corp., it has largely focused on refining performance through its Skyactiv fuel-efficient technology," said Jie Ma in Bloomberg in a January 17 article.