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Auto blogFri, 15 Mar 2013 08:26:00 EST
Visiting an auto museum is one of the best ways we know to connect with car culture and to commune with the past and bone up on one's knowledge. Most of us have a decent museum within a few hours drive of where we live, but that doesn't mean it's easy to see the world's great collections - factors like cost, time and mobility can get in the way. Videos are great, but they don't allow us to browse at our own pace or choose what we'd like to focus on. The folks behind Google Maps have a solution - the virtual museum tour, as seen here at Mazda's fantastic museum in Hiroshima, Japan.
The Google Maps tour allows viewers to take a walk through the main exhibition area of the museum, and you can focus on specific classic cars from Mazda, or check out displays featuring new technologies like Skyactiv. To take a quick spin through the museum - or a leisurely stroll at your own pace - scroll down to start your own virtual tour.
Looking to highlight its unique and sporty mindset, Mazda is getting ready to launch its biggest advertising campaign since "Zoom-Zoom" became its tagline in 2000. The new campaign, entitled "Game Changers," will begin in May, and rather than focusing on its sporty past - like it did with Zoom-Zoom early on - the new ads will look at recent advancements made in building its future, including Skyactiv technologies and its new diesel race program, both of which involve its excellent new Mazda6 sedan.
As a part of the ads, Mazda will showcase game changers from the sporting world, including Dick Fosbury who changed how competitors perform the high jump and Laird Hamilton, who redefined how surfers attacked big waves. It doesn't sound like Zoom-Zoom is going away, but "Game Changers" will definitely feature heavily in the Japanese automaker's marketing moving forward. A few examples of the new ad campaign are posted in our gallery, and the press release is available below.
As Mazda continues the current rollout of its still-new Skyactiv technology, the automaker is already looking at improving its family of engines for even better fuel economy and emissions reductions. Automotive News reports that with stricter fuel economy and emissions regulations planned for 2020 and 2025 in Europe, Mazda will likely release engines with next-generation Skyactiv 2 technology by the end of this decade, and Skyactiv 3 units just five years later.
The latter is expected to focus on improved engine cooling and lessening energy losses, but the big news in AN's report is that the next-gen Skyactiv 2 engines will use Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition, or HCCI. This type of ignition is very similar to how a diesel engine operates (with high compression and using the compression stroke for fuel combustion rather than spark plugs), a method said to provide a cleaner and more efficient fuel burn - to the tune of a 30-percent improvement in fuel economy compared to current Skyactiv engines. Other automakers, including Hyundai, have already announced they are developing HCCI powerplants with similar technology and characteristics, so Mazda likely won't be a lone wolf here.
Equipped with HCCI technology, Mazda figures to be able to compete with larger automakers in terms of fuel economy and emissions without resorting to hybrid powertrains, continuously variable transmissions or automatics relying on more forward gears (eight or more) for optimal efficiency. Some of the challenges of HCCI, according to AN, include the need for better engine cooling, risk of misfire at high and low rpm and uneven engine performance based on fuel properties.