Mazda3 Skyactiv-Hybrid and CNG Concept shown in JapanThu, 21 Nov 2013 14:00:00 EST
Mazda has received a tremendous amount of public and industry praise in the last few years, following up the successful introduction of its Skyactiv technology (powertrain and otherwise), with strong products like CX-5, Mazda6 and most recently, the Mazda3. At the Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda has taken yet another step forward with Skyactiv and the 3, showing the compact (called "Axela" in Japan) with an all-new compressed natural gas engine in the Skyactiv-CNG Concept.
Mazda thinks that CNG-powered vehicles are due for an uptick in demand, and the company believes this new powertrain will add valuable breadth to the Mazda3 range. The CNG Concept is actually a duel-fuel vehicle, capable of running on either natural gas or gasoline. In fact, we're told that the high compression ratio (14:1) inherent in Skyactiv-technology gasoline engines makes conversion to CNG particularly simple.
The end result of the Skyactiv-Hybrid is fuel consumption estimated at something like 74 miles per gallon.
Perhaps more interesting is the unveiling of Mazda's first-ever hybrid powertrain, aptly named Skyactiv-Hybrid. The new system, which is only slated for the Japanese market at this point, connects an electric motor to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine, using it to assist at low engine speeds and under low-load conditions. The electric motor is supplied by a nickel-metal hydride battery of unstated capacity.
The end result of the Skyactiv-Hybrid in the Mazda3 is fuel consumption estimated at 3.2 liters per 1,000 kilometers on the lenient Japanese cycle, or something like 74 miles per gallon, and total system output of around 134 horsepower (136 PS).
You'll find slightly more information about the Skyativ-Hybrid and the Skyativ-CNG Concept in the press release below.
Mazda's first hybrid: It's another major milestone for Sustainable Zoom-Zoom, Mazda's vision to deliver the best of all motoring worlds. The electric-petrol drive will initially power the all-new Mazda3*, which is also making its Japanese debut at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.
The latest addition to the SKYACTIV family, the SKYACTIV-Hybrid uses an electric motor to assist the SKYACTIV petrol engine, especially at low engine speeds and during low load operation. The engine, a specially modified SKYACTIV-G 2.0, features ultra-high 14:1 compression, a 4-1 exhaust manifold and unique control systems for more efficient combustion over a wider operating range. It also utilises exhaust gas recirculation, recovering exhaust heat to reduce warm-up times and allow more fuel-saving engine stops.
So much for efficient power production. To get it to the front wheels, a transaxle splits output from the SKYACTIV-G into drive power and generator power. In doing so, it transfers the most effective combination of output from the petrol engine and electric motor. The result: seamless, linear acceleration. A power control unit, meanwhile, steps battery power up and down to supply the electric motor, auxiliary equipment and auxiliary battery, in the process optimising the electricity supply the motor and elsewhere. Computer monitoring of the nickel-metal hydride battery's current, voltage and temperature, among other things, helps maintain the ideal battery status and enhance its durability.
The upshot: The all-new Mazda3 SKYACTIV-Hybrid is remarkably frugal, consuming only 3.2l/100km according to Japan's JC08 test cycle. And with a total system output of 100kW (136PS), it is also exceptionally fun to drive.
Down to the details
An uncompromising hybrid from an uncompromising carmaker: The engine sound is even tuned to match engine speed and acceleration for a genuinely Mazda Jinba Ittai rider-and-horse-as-one driving experience. Yet another highlight is the SKYACTIV-Hybrid's cooperative brake energy regeneration setup, which consists of regenerative brakes employing an electric motor as well as hydraulic brakes.
The two systems work together not only to ensure outstanding linear braking, but also to maximise the recovery of energy, which is then converted to electricity to further improve fuel economy.
Of course, the all-new Mazda3 SKYACTIV-Hybrid comes with the same cutting-edge safety technology, connectivity, interior design and layout as any other Mazda3. And the same head-turning "KODO – Soul of Motion" exterior, lightweight SKYACTIV-Body, and the superb handling of the SKYACTIV-Chassis. So it's just as safe, just as enjoyable, and even more fuel efficient. Mazda continues to defy convention, and it's quite exciting...
Mazda will showcase the recently launched Mazda3 with a variety of engine types at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. The latest model is now offered as a 'multi-solution' in response to diversifying fuel types. Beside news on the already released SKYACTIV gasoline, hybrid (for Japan) and diesel-engine models, the Japanese carmaker presents for the first time a Mazda3 SKYACTIV-CNG Concept, which runs on compressed natural gas (CNG).
Alongside new-generation models, the displays show Mazda's most recent technologies and hint at the direction of future models. The 43rd Tokyo Motor Show opens to the public on November 23 at Tokyo Big Sight.*
The Mazda3 is a core model in the Mazda line-up accounting for more than thirty per cent of the company's global sales volume, and it is the third of Mazda's new generation vehicles to be completely redesigned. Mazda is proposing the new Mazda3 as a 'multi-solution.' Capable of using a diverse range of energy sources, every model still offers Mazda's trademark fun-to-drive experience. Furthermore, regardless of fuel-type, all models in the Mazda3 line-up feature SKYACTIV engines - a testament to the versatility of SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY.
Based on an increasing demand for CNG-powered vehicles, the SKYACTIV-CNG Concept adopts a dual fuel system that runs on both gasoline and CNG. Since CNG engines burn fuel at high pressure and the SKYACTIV-G gasoline engine already achieves a high compression ratio it can easily be modified for CNG with only minor modifications.
Vehicles with CNG engines reduce emissions by about 20 per cent compared to those with gasoline engines of the same displacement. The SKYACTIV-HYBRID models - on sale only for Japan - pair an electric motor with a specially-designed 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G gasoline engine. It realizes both exhilarating driving performance and outstanding fuel economy performance. Also on stage in Tokyo is the Mazda Atenza (Mazda6) ASV-5 which is equipped with futuristic safety systems. In a world-first, one of these systems enables automobiles with an in-car autonomous sensor to communicate with streetcars, helping to prevent collisions and support a smooth and safe flow of traffic.
By Seyth Miersma
See also: Mazda CEO says rotary not viable, so don't look for a new one, Mazda CEO predicts record US sales in next 2 years, Mazda returning to top-tier racing with diesel-powered prototype in USCC.