Mazda SkyActiv

Mazda is developing new technology for its cars in order to significantly boost efficiency and performance in upcoming models.

The new eco-goodies, collectively called Skyactiv, will be showcased alongside Mazda’s new Minagi Concept car at the New York Auto Show later this month.

There will be two new engines coming from Mazda bearing the Skyactiv name. The first is their new gasoline engine called Skyactiv-G. This is unique in that it has the highest compression ratio of any production gas engine. While that figure might sound like bragging rights for engineers and car nerds, in reality it means up to a 15 percent jump in power and reliability.

All engines will compress the gas and air before igniting it to make power. The more the gas and air are compressed, the more power a car can typically make. The trade off is that usually, too much compression can cause damage to an engine.

Engines that compress as much as Mazda is claiming are generally limited to race cars where mechanics will regularly test and replace worn parts. Mazda seems to have figured out the trick to maintaining reliability while achieving a more powerful engine.

Mazda will also be releasing a diesel motor called Skyactiv-D. Thanks to a host of improvements over previous designs, Mazda says the new engine will be 20 percent more efficient.

Another weapon in Mazda’s new eco-arsenal is Skyactiv-Drive. This automatic transmission, which adopts some tech from high end cars, can give up to a 4-7 percent fuel mileage boost.

Mazda is looking at building their Skyactiv tech directly into cars’ bodies and chassis. Using different metals and building techniques, the Japanese car company says that it can build a car 22 percent lighter and 30 percent more rigid than before.

The company hasn’t yet said what all this technology will achieve when everything is working together, but this latest push should mark a jumping off point for Mazda cars of the future.

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J. Mark Sternberg is an automotive journalist, car enthusiast and writer with a degree from the University of Arizona. Mark is a devoted Formula 1 fan and also enjoys boating, flying and attending the occasional track day.

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