Mazda’s next-gen SkyActiv engines will drop spark plugs in favor of high compression

Homogeneous charge compression ignition, or HCCI, is the black art of of internal combustion engines that aims to produce diesel-like fuel efficiency for the cost of gasoline. Although some of its competitors have developed and subsequently given up on the tech, Mazda confirmed that the next-generation of SkyActiv engines will employ HCCI technology, improving fuel economy by 30 percent and at the same time reducing exhaust emissions.

According to Nikkei, a new SkyActiv family of engines is set to debut under the hood of the next-gen Mazda3 sometime in 2018 before making its way into other vehicles. In simple terms, an engine that uses HCCI burns the air/fuel mix using pressure instead of with spark plugs, just like a diesel. At 14:1, Mazda’s gasoline engines already have some of the highest compression ratios out there, but a move to HCCI means cranking up the compression to 18:1.

While the tech sounds relatively straightforward, using HCCI means dealing with a number of side issues. It’s one of those “on paper” ideas that compounds problems when put into practice. Heat, revs, and fuel must all be carefully managed as gasoline doesn’t burn the same way as diesel. Mazda is mum on details, but the automaker seems confident that the issues have been sorted. If the new engines do indeed make it to market with HCCI, Mazda will have out-engineered GM, Daimler, and Hyundai, all of which have tried and failed to develop HCCI engines in a cost-effective package.

With the market moving towards electrification, it’s interesting to see Mazda still focusing so heavily on traditional internal combustion gasoline engines. It’s an indication of where they see the market heading for the next few years. Although the automaker has been hesitant to move forward with hybrid and electric powertrains, Nikkei also reports that Mazda will begin mass production of EVs in 2019.

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Mitsubishi is killing the Lancer this summer

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First no more Evo, now no more Lancer. Mitsu’s focus will shift to crossovers.

Continue reading Mitsubishi is killing the Lancer this summer

Mitsubishi is killing the Lancer this summer originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 06 Jan 2017 09:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mitsubishi dealers would really like a truck to sell

While Mitsubishi is switching gears to focus on crossovers, that won’t address a market that its dealers would like to be in. While answering questions from the press last night, Don Swearingen, executive vice president and COO of Mitsubishi’s North American office, mentioned that its US dealers have a pickup truck high on their “shopping lists.” In fact, he said that a truck is pretty much at the top.

Mitsubishi does already have a small pickup truck it sells in foreign markets, badged as the Triton or L200. However, Swearingen said that just because dealers want a truck doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, citing various obstacles to bringing one to market. If, for example, Mitsubishi brought over the Triton, the company would have to go through the long, expensive process of certifying it for US safety and emissions regulations, not to mention making sure it fulfilled American buyers’ demands. There’s also the Chicken Tax, which levees a steep tariff on trucks built outside of the US and imported in.

One possible way Mitsubishi could circumvent all of those issues, though, would be to leverage its new partnership with Nissan. Nissan already sells Frontier small pickups in the US, and Mitsubishi could simply redesign that model to suit its style. It’s something that both companies are familiar with as well. Mitsubishi previously sold a restyled Dodge Dakota as the Raider, and Nissan allowed Suzuki to rebrand the Frontier to be sold as the Equator for a short time. It would certainly be a quick way to get into the truck market. However, Mitsubishi would also need to decide if such a product would actually be profitable, in addition to satisfying dealers.

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