Mazda at work on innovative diesel engine, plans launch next year

by Rachel Burgess, Autocar UK 19 Oct 2019

Mazda will launch an innovative diesel engine next year as it seeks to broaden its approach to reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

While many car makers, such as Volvo, have said they will not develop new diesel engines, instead favouring investment in electrification, Mazda will continue to improve its diesel and petrol engines alongside other powertrains such as electric and plug-in hybrids.

Popularity in diesel cars has taken a major hit in recent years, following the Dieselgate scandal. For the year to date, diesel car sales are down 20% in the UK.

Mazda's Europe R&D, boss Christian Schultze, said: “We are sticking to diesel engines. In 2020, we have a new approach to diesel engines. We will show you how clean and very efficient diesel engines can be.”

Asked if it would use similar technology to Mazda's recently launched spark-plug-controlled compression ignition Skyactive-X petrol engine, he said: “We will surprise you next year,” adding “ there are not so many differences between petrol and diesel.”

The Skyactiv-X engine relies on two technologies - lean-burn combustion and compression ignition - to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions while delivering good performance.

Schultze said Mazda will consider other powertrain options as and when they become viable. “If we come into an age where sustainable fuels are economically similar, why not use them? We hope governments wake up and see that electrification is one way but there are others, too. Skyactiv-X is a step in the right direction.”

Mazda has what it calls a “multi-solution approach” to sustainability. Along with petrol engines and its next-generation diesel, it will offer electric, plug-in hybrid, series-hybrid and range-extender vehicles.