Mazda will become the first major car maker to introduce a compression- ignition petrol engine — and the firm believes it could be cleaner than pure-electric power over its lifecycle.
The pursuit of this technology sets the Japanese manufacturer apart from other car companies that are focusing their efforts on improving hybrid and pure- electric systems to make their vehicles cleaner. However, Mazda officials insist they aren’t deliberately following an alternate path.
“We never want to be different,” Hidetoshi Kudo, Mazda’s head of product strategy, told Autocar. “We just want to do the right thing. As a result, we are different. But it’s not on purpose.”
The direction taken by Mazda has been shaped by the philosophy it has adopted as a far smaller company than many of its rivals. With limited resources, Mazda has been forced to sharpen the focus of its R&D activities.
The first step came in 2005, when Mazda unveiled a road map to ideal combustion, identifying seven development areas it believed would lead to the most efficient petrol and diesel engines possible.
Kiyoshi Fujiwara, Mazda’s R&D boss, told Autocar: “Step by step, we’ve developed the technology towards this goal. We’ve never looked at a different direction. Larger manufacturers have lots of people and they can do multiple things. But we decide on one thing - and we decided to work on this.”