We have driven Mazda 3 Skyactiv-X prototype: Mazda’s new compression ignition engine, combines petrol and diesel tech. We’ve tried out an early prototype. For years, HCCI’s challenges have meant that production applications have eluded industry juggernauts such as Hyundai, General Motors, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz. Now, tiny Mazda, the Japanese automaker that has just 2 percent of the global car market, says it will put a Spark Plug Controlled Compression Ignition. Mazda’s achievement in putting an SCCI engine into production means it will have reached what engine designers for decades have considered a Holy Grail of efficiency. This SCCI, or Spark Controlled Compression Ignition system holds tremendous potential to boost the efficiency of gasoline-powered engines by 20-30 percent, thereby matching the fuel economy of a comparatively sized diesel engine. As an added bonus, torque figures are expected to jump a similar amount.
And let’s not forget, despite Mazda’s commitment to piston engines that led to this breakthrough, it’s even hedging on this by gaining access to Toyota’s considerable EV knowledge and equipment. Toyota’s upcoming solid state battery is an equally monumental coup in the EV world. If the two companies can effectively scale and leverage these two technologies, the diesel-addicted German companies need to watch out. They might get outmaneuvered. Here’s how it works. Nerd alert!—it’s complicated