Mazda Skyactiv – What Is It?
Many car manufacturers use their own innovative techniques to produce or tweak their engines to improve their performance. In recent years, motorists are ever more conscious of carbon emissions and fuel consumption so, as petrol prices continue to rise, they want to keep their ongoing costs to a minimum. It gets tricky though, because many drivers still want a car that can fulfil their needs and desires, and this often means owning a family car that is spacious and practical, without compromising on power and enjoyment.
Meeting all of these requests is always a challenge, and therefore requires some quick thinking engineers to come up with new, brighter solutions. At Mazda, that’s exactly what has been happening, and the result is their patented Skyactiv technology.
What Is Skyactiv Technology?
It’s all about compression ratio. A conventional internal combustion engine works by pumping petrol and air into a combustion chamber, which is then compressed by a piston and then ignited by a spark plug. This ignition pushes the piston back out to its original position and the process repeats.
The compression ratio is the factor by which the air-fuel mixture is compressed. A typical gasoline engine will have a compression ratio of around 10:1. The issue with a lower compression ratio is that the engine doesn’t squeeze out every bit of its petrol’s potential. This is where Mazda Skyactiv technology has changed the game.
Skyactiv engines have found a way to extract almost all of a petrol engine’s potential by achieving a high compression ratio of 14:1. The result of this new technology is an engine that can produce more power whilst still giving you better fuel economy than conventional engines.
There are a few members of Mazda’s Skyactiv family, so let’s take a look and see what they have to offer.
Mazda’s flagship model, the Skyactiv-X engine uses Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) to get as much out of every drop of fuel as possible. As well as achieving a high compression ratio, the Skyactiv-X engine runs on a very lean fuel-air mixture, meaning only a very small amount of fuel is required for ignition. Gas engines in the past have required much heavier fuel-air mixtures to run properly, so engineering motors to run on leaner mixtures has long been the goal of engine manufactures, and that’s exactly what Mazda has achieved with the Skyactiv-X.
The upshot of all this is an engine with vastly improved fuel efficiency that also delivers more power and torque.
This model was the first motor to reach a compression ratio of 14:1, resulting in a 15% increase in fuel efficiency and torque. This increase in torque led to better everyday driving as it improved engine performance at low engine speeds thus translating its results in real-world driving conditions.
This technology isn’t only applied to petrol engines, Mazda has also developed Skyactiv-D diesel engines that are available across a wide range of new Mazda vehicles. The same principle of high compression ratio has been applied to Mazda’s diesel engine to increase fuel economy by a whopping 20%. That’s a significant reduction in a new vehicle’s ongoing running costs which should get any thrifty new car buyer pretty excited.
Skyactiv-X M Hybrid
Mazda’s latest innovation combines the Skyactiv-X engine with hybrid technology. During braking, the integrated starter motor generator captures electrical energy and stores it in a 24V battery. This electrical energy is then deployed via an electric motor when needed to increase engine performance. The result is a further increase in power, as well as even better fuel efficiency and emissions figures than the standard Skyactiv range.
Not Just Engine Focused
When Mazda created Skyactiv, it didn’t just set the precedent for each car that they designed but it also became a benchmark for every part of the vehicle. For Mazda, Skyactiv became a philosophy for each model to follow, leaving no section of a car untouched.
To increase performance, Mazda developed lighter yet stronger materials to reduce body weight by 8% and increase rigidity by 30% due to a full frame-work makeover. By reducing the car’s weight and increasing its rigidity around significant improvement in it’s handling, safety and performance.
Like the car body, Mazda gave their chassis an update of their own, resulting in a lighter, more rigid and more balanced framework on which to build cars. This further enhances the driver’s experience every time they get behind the wheel, with overall faster acceleration and easier control.
Come In For A Test Drive
To put it simply, cars that are built with the Skyactiv philosophy from the ground up are superior in every way. They offer better engine performance, better fuel economy, fewer emissions, superior handling and the highest possible safety standard. This superior driving experience combined with reduced running costs is why Mazda are leaders in the automotive field.
To experience Skyactiv technology for yourself, book a test drive at Mandurah Mazda today. It won’t take long to work out what all the fuss is about!