• Jun 23rd 2008 at 8:32AM
  • 23

Mazda has announced plans to increase the fuel efficiency of its vehicles by 30 percent in the next seven years through the use of new engine technology and lighter materials. By 2015, Mazda's entire range of vehicles will roll off the assembly line some 220 pounds lighter compared to the vehicles it offers today, with a diet that includes a new three-layer wet paint system, along with more innovative materials, including carbon neutral bioplastics due to arrive in 2013.

The automaker's goal will also be realized through the use of its new proprietary Smart Idle Stop System that will debut on one of its products in 2009. Unlike other systems, the Mazda start-stop setup injects fuel directly into the cylinder after the engine has shut down and then ignites the fuel to force the piston down. According to Mazda this makes for a smoother, faster and quieter restart and should improve fuel economy by seven- to eight-percent. The Smart Idle Stop System will originally be equipped on models in Europe and Japan, with a worldwide rollout coming shortly thereafter.

In 2009, Mazda will begin offering E85-compatible engines in North America and Northern Europe, and in 2011 all of the automaker's gasoline engines will utilize direct-injection fuel delivery. That same year, Mazda will introduce new diesel engines worldwide that boost fuel economy by 20-percent and in 2010, look for a new 16X rotary engine equipped with Direct Injection Spark Ignition that will increase both performance and fuel economy.

Hit the jump to read Mazda's press release.


Mazda to cut vehicle fuel consumption 30 percent by 2015.

  • By 2015, Mazda will have renewed almost its entire powertrain lineup.
  • Through steadily developing safe, lightweight, new generation platforms, aim to reduce the weight of new vehicles by 100 kilograms or more, from 2011.
  • Unique Smart Idle Stop System to be introduced in 2009 with fast, quiet restart.
  • Mazda to introduce a more advanced version of the unique Three Layer Wet Paint System in 2009.
  • Mazda aims to have carbon neutral bioplastics ready for use in vehicles by 2013.

HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda Motor Corporation has announced that it is setting its sights on reducing the fuel consumption of Mazda vehicles sold globally by an average 30 percent by 2015. This determined commitment will entail a holistic approach which includes using lightweight technologies, the upgrade of almost all of Mazda's gasoline engines, introducing a Smart Idle Stop System, a new gasoline rotary engine and new diesel engines worldwide. By 2015, Mazda will have renewed almost its entire powertrain lineup and, from 2011, through steadily developing safe, lightweight, new generation platforms aims to reduce the weight of its new vehicles by 100 kilograms or more.

Mazda is driven by its long-term vision to provide all its customers with first-rate environmental and safety features as well as driving pleasure. This means that Mazda owners are assured of driving cars that continue to provide the fun-to-drive feeling that will keep them coming back for more, while still having the peace of mind that their Mazda is environmentally-friendly and safe to drive.

But, this focus on the environment is not a new concept for Mazda. In the seven years from 2001 to 2008, the average fuel economy of Mazda vehicles sold in the Japanese market increased by approximately 30 percent. In 1991, the company embarked on a long-term project to develop vehicles powered by hydrogen technology, thereby participating in the search for sustainable transportation solutions, which still continues today.

Mazda saw its hydrogen powertrain efforts progress positively forward in June 2008 when the Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid received the green light from the Japanese government to begin testing on public roads. The Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid (known as the Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid in Japan) offers 40 percent more power and an extended hydrogen driving range of 200 kilometers. It will be available for commercial lease in Japan during the 2008 fiscal year. And, Mazda is already progressing well with the development of an all-new Hydrogen RE vehicle with dynamic performance equivalent to a 3.0-liter gasoline engine and a hydrogen range of 400 kilometers.

The next technological milestone for Mazda will be the introduction of the mass production version of its proprietary Smart Idle Stop System into one of its cars in 2009.

Mazda's is the only idle stop system in the world that restarts the engine from idle by injecting fuel directly into the cylinder and igniting it to force the piston down, enabling a fast and quiet restart as well as an improvement in fuel economy by up to seven-to-eight percent. Demonstrating the extent of Mazda's flexible R&D capability in developing alternative environmentally-friendly technologies, the system will initially appear in Japan and Europe; however, it will be rolled out worldwide.

Mazda's future powertrain line-up has much to excite current and future Mazda customers. In 2009, an E85 fuel-compatible flex-fuel engine will be introduced into the Northern European and North American markets. From 2011 onwards, with new gasoline engines will incorporate next generation Direct Injection Spark Ignition and other systems to boost power by 15 to 20 percent and improve fuel economy by approximately 20 percent.

Beginning in 2011, Mazda plans to introduce new diesel engines worldwide that meet the strictest future exhaust gas regulations in each market. These engines will feature next generation direct injection technology, turbocharging systems and NOx reduction technology, which will enhance fuel economy by 20 percent and produce cleaner exhaust gases, while still providing a true Zoom-Zoom experience.

A fundamental part of Mazda's heritage, the gasoline rotary engine, will be substantially upgraded in the early 2010s. Currently referred to as the 16X, the next rotary engine will offer substantially improved performance and economy through use of Direct Injection Spark Ignition and high-speed combustion technology, enfolded in new rotary dimensions.

Mazda's environmental efforts are not only focused on its cars. The plants in which they are built have also received a lot of attention to ensure that they contribute to a sustainable future.

In FY2007, the volume of CO2 emissions from production activities in Japan was reduced by 15.4 percent compared to FY1990 levels. Expressed as CO2 emissions volume per unit of revenue, the reduction was 24 percent.

In 2005, Mazda was the first auto manufacturer to introduce a Three Layer Wet Paint System which reduces VOC emissions by 45 percent and CO2 emissions by 15 percent. Mazda now plans to introduce a more advanced version of this unique Paint System in 2009 as it finalizes the development of an innovative water-based paint technology that reduces VOC emissions by a further 57 percent without increasing CO2 emissions. Producing around 25 percent fewer CO2 emissions than common water-based paint, this new technology is intended to make Mazda's paint shops the cleanest in the world.

Mazda is also making itself known in the area of carbon neutral bioplastics. Developed in collaboration with government, industry and academia, Mazda intends to expand the applications of this new source of eco-friendly material. Already, bioplastics are used in the new Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid and, in June 2008, Mazda commenced the Mazda Bioplastic Project to develop a bioplastic made from non-food-based cellulosic biomass. The project aims to have the bioplastic ready for use in vehicles by 2013.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well, all they have to do is drop the RX-8 and they're halfway there. :D
      • 7 Years Ago
      I can get 20/30 mpg city/highway in a rotary. Everyone else just accelerates and/or drives too hard. Then again most people suck at driving so that's understandable. A 30% increase for me would be from 20 mpg up to 26 mpg city and from 30 to 39 mpg highway. I know that's not a realistic expectation as they need to base their numbers on the average person's (yes that means you!) horrible driving ability but I'll take a 30% improvement anyday.
      • 7 Years Ago
      30 percent by 2015 is too little too late.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Most Mazda's are pretty good currently so this'll be nice. Only problem motor they have is the rotary in that respect
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yea, my 3 is a lil piggy (relative), but like you said; oh so fun to drive!
        • 7 Years Ago
        A problem with at least some North American market Mazdas is using engines from Ford, which aren't exactly award winning in terms of economy.
      • 7 Years Ago
      All good stuff there, I like Mazda a lot. They've made a lot of effort to develop new technology and actually use it.
      I just hope that the next RX series car will be lighter on the wallet then the RX-8 which was itself a vast improvement on the the RX-7.
      Is it posisble for them to fuel the rotary with Hydrogen?
      I thought I read somewhere that the next RX might be available with a hydrogen fuel option.
        • 7 Years Ago
        How/Where will you fill up?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well it's not due till late 2010 at the earliest, I would hope that by then the current fuel crisis would have caused the industry to act and start making alternatives more avilable.
      Optimistic I know but not ridiculous either.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mazda2 won the International car of the year award because it offered a top safety (5 stars in Euro NCAP test) with a package that seats 5 people provides 105 HP and still fits under 1 tone.

      Compared to its European competion its 200 kg (400 pounds) less.

      Do the math, but the car handles excellently, and returns like 5 l/100 km on average.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mazda and Subaru (and prolly Mitsubishi) are lame on mileage. Plenty of companies have been guilty of this problem, but Mazda seems to compete in their segments with heavy cars/crossovers and larger less efficient engines to compensate. If you've compared Mazda with other cars you've seen this problem. MX5 is a great example.

      RX8 should have been scrapped before it was born. Of the 3 owners who I know that bought them, one sold after a year, and two bought motorcycles in response to the heartstoppingly poor mileage. The sad thing is one owner was upgrading from an RX7 R1 so he should have known better.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Don't buy an RX-8 then. Those who buy it but then turn around and hate it for gas mileage did not do enough damned research.

        The RX-8 and the rotary engine were both designed for a certain kind of people (car enthusiasts). This was Mazda's decision from way back when they first decided to limit rotary presence only to their more performance/driver-oriented cars. If you bought one as a penis-mobile, then I'm so sorry. You bought the wrong car.

        Not to mention..., you gotta pay to play.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Miata is also geared like an old drag racer. My 2000 has a 4.30:1 axle ratio and a 0.81 overdrive...not exactly good for gas mileage.

        One must also consider that these companies lack the immense financial resources of larger companies. Honda or Toyota can afford to not compromise when it comes to motors - fuel economy and power - but someone like Subaru or Mitsubishi can't. Mazda has to work with what Ford gives them, so don't expect industry leading results.
      • 7 Years Ago
      First off E85 is crap and noone will use it (like noone actually uses it today because 1) price 2) poor mileage 3) not actually available everywhere).

      Secondly, why is N.A. getting the start-stop feature after Japan and Europe? I feel like we always get slopy seconds.
      • 7 Years Ago
      30% improvement... so the next gen RX8 will go from 14MPG to 18MPG....
        • 7 Years Ago
        Reading this as a 30% improvement on a model by model basis is wishful thinking.

        It's a 30% average improvement for the product line as a whole and the bulk of it will come from adding small new models and discontinuing thirsty flops like the CX-7.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yea the RX-8 gets horrible gas mileage, but you are getting something no one else on the road has, u cant appreciated 14mpg till u hit a 9000 rpm redline takin a turn that no other car would so effortlessly take as an rx-8 ... its a fun car, and unfortunately if its fun - its usually thirsty.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Are you suggesting that they are not doing enough? In raw numbers that may not sound like much but 30% is quite an increase. Consider the 3. Currently the combined number is 27; a 30% increase would take it to 35.

        If you are looking for double digit increases you are dreaming. Mazda is being practical. They have specific goals and those goals are charted on a timeline. If anything other companies, including Toyota and Honda, should be looking to Mazda as an excellent example of moving forward. Increasing power and efficiency while decreasing weight and resource consumption all while maintaining desirable styling and driving dynamics.
          • 7 Years Ago
          No I'm not suggesting that at all, I was just being glib. 30% improvement is a huge step in the right direction. I own an RX8 though so I'm aware of just how awful it's fuel consumption is to begin with and a 30% increase still leaves you with a car that gets grim gas mileage. The RX8 is an outlier though, this is indeed great news.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I wouldn't give up my 03' Protege5 for much of the '08 compacts out there today (save for maybe a loaded Mazdaspeed3 hatch, slightly different league), and I hope my next wheels from Mazda will be equally as enjoyable an ownership experience as this little four-banger has been. As long as they keep a focus on the driver experience and handling while cutting the consumption numbers, I'll be back for more.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Very nice to see Mazda getting with the program. These measures are not just green, they're red - a lighter car performs and handles better, for example. Even so, I've been driving Mazdas for years and am currently on my 3rd Mazda3. My experience tells me that there are going to be some growing pains with this list.

      Sheetmetal: cost of materials must be hitting Mazda hard.. it's way too thin, so it dings entirely too easily. It's embarrassing when an acorn (yes..an acorn) can fall from a tree and ding your hood. Fixing this issue would improve quality (to say nothing of perception) and wouldn't increase weight that much. This is cost-cutting, not eco-awareness here.

      Paint: Ask any Mazda owner how durable the finish is. You'll regret you brought it up - chips too easily and kills resale value. Also kills customer loyalty because perception is everything. If the car looks like crap, people will think it is even if underneath it's a solid example of excellent engineering. To be fair, Mazda might finally have a handle on this problem if the '08 models are any indication.

      Bioplastics: Let's hope they are scratch resistant and able to deal with daily use. I'm also worried about how they will stand up to wide and rapid temperature changes in the extreme heat of Summer days and bitter cold nights of Winter without falling apart or squeaking in a couple of years. Took long enough for the company to get conventional plastics up to par. I have a feeling Mazda knows this; craftsmanship has been a big deal to them in recent years, and it shows in their products. I hope they really vet this technology thoroughly since it's essentially a replacement for what's really not broken.

      Smart Start/Stop: I don't see this being a major issue, but if it's tested like Mazda's early TPMS and DSC systems, the first couple of model years are going to be mildly annoying to say the least.

      Every other improvement listed can only be a plus in my book when I start shopping for my next daily driver. Overall I love Mazda, but it does take them a couple of years to work out some really easy kinks. I know every car maker has this issue to one degree or another, it's just doubly annoying on a Mazda because for one, they're basically a niche brand with no direct competition at their price points, so you're stuck if you want what they offer since no one else will for the money or at all. (I'm talking driving dynamics here, not just feature content.) For another, there's also that feeling of sometimes their cars being untested, or the glitch that was "too obvious to have been missed at the factory" that somehow got missed anyway. Very minor quibbles at best - no showstoppers in my experience.

      I think that owning an environmentally friendly vehicle shouldn't mean your car decomposes in your driveway by design. For what cars are costing, it's not too much to ask that they function as advertised. Let's see if Mazda can make a good thing better.
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