Mazda is forging ahead with its strategy of developing the efficiency of its conventional engines under the Skyactiv banner rather than adopting hybridisation and plans to deliver a further 30 per cent improvement in fuel economy by 2020, according to European president Jeff Guyton.
Mazda engineers believe its next-generation engines can have even wider power bands than the current models. “I’ve driven prototypes of our next-generation engines, and they are everything you’d hope for in power and smoothness,” said Guyton.
He said Mazda’s Skyactiv engines don’t require the expensive multi-speed transmissions needed by other lean-burn engines and work well with a conventional six-speed gearbox.
“We have a real passion for efficient combustion,” said Guyton. “You could equate it to the passion we have for the Mazda MX-5 sports car. There’s huge heat wastage in conventional engines: surely it’s better to do something constructive about that then adding weight with extra power units?”
Guyton pointed out that Mazda doesn’t deny that electric propulsion will eventually arrive - it recently patented a range extender with a baby Wankel engine as the generator motor - but it feels super efficient conventional engines provide the best solution for now and the near future.