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Mazda wields fuel consumption knife

Heart transplant: Mazda has confirmed a replacement for the RX-8's rotary engine, which will deliver "substantially more" power and economy.

Fresh petrol, diesel and rotary engines central to hefty Mazda fuel economy boost

1 Jul 2008

MAZDA is not the first car-maker to announce ambitious fuel consumption reduction targets, but it is the first to reveal a hefty 30 per cent fuel economy improvement across its global new-model fleet by 2015 – by reducing the weight of new vehicles by at least 100kg.

In a move that defies the current trend towards ever-heavier new models, Mazda has said it will reduce the weight of its new models by 100kg or more, starting from 2011, when the first in a series of new-generation lightweight platforms will emerge.

Aiding the cause will be the renewal of almost all of Mazda’s petrol engines by 2015, including a new rotary, and new global diesel engines, but the company’s next major fuel economy advance will be the mass production of Mazda’s proprietary idle-stop technology, Smart Idle Stop System (SISS).

Claimed to be the world’s first such system to restart an engine from idle by injecting fuel directly into its cylinder and then igniting it to force the piston down, which is said to be faster and quieter as well as improving fuel economy by eight per cent, SISS will debut in a Mazda model in 2009, initially only in Japan and Europe.

The same year will see Mazda introduce an E85 fuel-compatible “flex-fuel” engine in Northern European and North American markets.

The company says two years later, from 2011, new systems including next-generation Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) will lift power from its new petrol engines by 15 to 20 per cent and lower fuel consumption by about 20 per cent.

Also from 2011, Mazda has heralded the arrival of new turbo-diesel engines that feature new direct-injection and NOx-reduction technologies to lower fuel consumption by 20 per cent and meet the strictest future emissions laws around the globe.

 center imageLeft: Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid.

Significantly for performance fans, Mazda has confirmed the world’s only rotary engine in series production, the RX-8’s 1.3-litre twin-rotor 13B, “will be substantially upgraded in the early 2010s”.

Mazda promises its next-generation rotary will deliver substantially improved performance and economy through the use of DISI and high-speed combustion technology, “enfolded in new rotary dimensions”, suggesting the successor to the “16X” may be turbocharged as well as larger in displacement.

Mazda’s stated global fuel consumption reduction target of 30 per cent in the seven years to 2015 matches its domestic efforts in the previous seven years to 2001, a period in which the average fuel economy of Mazda vehicles sold in Japan improved by about 30 per cent.

The company also says the CO2 emissions from its factories in Japan during the last financial year were 15.4 per cent lower than 1990 levels, and that it will next year introduce a new version of its unique Three Layer Wet Paint System that is claimed to produce around 25 per cent fewer CO2 emissions than common water-based paint and make Mazda’s paint shops the cleanest in the world.

Mazda last month commenced a project to develop bioplastic made from non-food-based cellulosic biomass and aims to have the carbon-neutral bioplastic ready for use in vehicles by 2013.

Bioplastic panels are already worn by the Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid, which is fresh from receiving Japanese government approval to test on public roads and will be available for commercial lease in Japan during the 2008 fiscal year.

The hydrogen-powered Premacy is claimed to offer 40 per cent more power and an extended driving range of 200km, but Mazda has revealed that development is already well under way for an all-new Hydrogen RE vehicle that offers 3.0-litre petrol performance and a 400km hydrogen range.

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