Mazda Skyactiv-X brings compression ignition to gasoline engine

The innovative technology will be central to the company\'s \"Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030\" strategic vision.

Confirming recent rumors, Mazda has announced plans to launch the industry's first production gasoline engine with compression ignition.

Known as 'Skyactiv-X,' the next-generation ignition technology mimics a diesel engine by employing high compression to spontaneously ignite the air-fuel mixture instead of relying solely on a spark.

The system apparently does not completely avoid a spark plug, which is still present to ignite the air/fuel mix in certain conditions. The company claims its proprietary "spark controlled" approach maximizes the zone in which compression ignition is possible and enables a seamless transition between spark ignition and compression ignition.

A supercharged Skyactiv-X engine is said to increase torque by up to 30 percent compared to the current Skyactiv-G gasoline engine. With the ability to ignite super-lean air/fuel mixtures that would not respond to a spark alone, efficiency is improved by 20-30 percent over the latest Skyactiv-G engine and up to 45 percent compared to Mazda's 2008 gasoline engine of the same displacement.

"Skyactiv-X even equals or exceeds the latest Skyactiv-D diesel engine in fuel efficiency," the company says.

Compression ignition technology will play an important role in Mazda's "Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030" long-term strategic vision, which aims to reduce "well-to-wheel" carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent of 2010 levels by 2030. The Japanese automaker is planning to introduce electric vehicles in 2019, but argues that the internal combustion engine will continue to power the majority of cars worldwide "for many years to come."

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