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Mazda's SkyActiv technologies – Click above for high-res image gallery

Perhaps Mazda was given a chance to play with Mercedes-Benz's nomenclature machine, but the Japanese firm has adjusted the name of its Sky technologies to SkyActiv. These represent the updated components that will appear in Mazda's next generation of cars, and represent six particular advances, from engines to bodyshells.

The engines formerly known as Sky-D (diesel) and Sky-G (gas) will be the first to contribute to what Mazda calls "sustainable ZoomZoom." The clean diesel lump has a compression ratio of 14.0:1, touted as the lowest in the world, while the DI gasoline engine has the same ratio, touted as the highest in the world and as having "no abnormal knocking." The increased engine efficiency is said to result in a 15 percent fuel economy improvement. The Mazda Demio (Mazda2) will be the first to get the SkyActive-G, and the company claims it will get 30 km/l, which equals 70 miles per gallon by our math (read more about this car here).

The rest of the line-up includes SkyActiv-Drive, an automatic transmission with a wider lock-up range, SkyActive-MT, a compact, manual transmission with less weight and a "short stroke and light shift feel," SkyActiv-Body, a body-in-white that's eight percent lighter yet 30 percent more rigid, and SkyActiv-Chassis, a 14 percent lighter chassis with a revised suspension. Follow the jump for the full info, and high-res shots of your SkyActiv fantasies are in the gallery below.

[Source: Mazda]

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Mazda Reveals Next-Generation 'SKYACTIV' Technologies

First product to be equipped with SKYACTIV technology will be a Mazda Demio featuring an improved, fuel-efficient, next-generation direct-injection engine that achieves fuel economy of 30 km/L -

Highlights of the SKYACTIV technologies:

* SKYACTIV-G: a next-generation highly-efficient direct-injection gasoline engine with the world's highest compression ratio of 14.0:1
* SKYACTIV-D: a next-generation clean diesel engine with the world's lowest compression ratio of 14.0:1
* SKYACTIV-Drive: a next-generation highly-efficient automatic transmission
* A next-generation manual transmission with a light shift feel, compact size and significantly reduced weight
* A next-generation lightweight, highly-rigid body with outstanding crash safety performance
* A next-generation high-performance lightweight chassis that balances precise handling with a comfortable ride

HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda Motor Corporation today announced the launch of its SKYACTIV next-generation technologies - including engines, transmissions, vehicle bodies and chassis - that will begin appearing in Mazda products from 2011. The Mazda Demio (known overseas as the Mazda2) will be the first model to feature SKYACTIV technology and will go on sale in Japan in the first half of 2011. It will be powered by the SKYACTIV-G, Mazda's next-generation direct injection gasoline engine that achieves significantly improved fuel efficiency thanks to a high compression ratio of 14.0:1*. The Mazda Demio SKYACTIV-G will achieve fuel economy of 30 kilometers per liter† without any assistance from an electric motor.

SKYACTIV is a blanket term for Mazda's innovative next-generation technologies that are being developed under the company's long-term vision for technology development, Sustainable Zoom-Zoom. The SKYACTIV name is intended to reflect Mazda's desire to provide driving pleasure as well as outstanding environmental and safety performance in its vehicles. To achieve this goal, Mazda has implemented an internal Building Block Strategy to be completed by 2015. This ambitious strategy involves the comprehensive optimization of Mazda's base technologies, which determine the core performance of its vehicles, and the progressive introduction of electric devices such as regenerative braking and a hybrid system. All the technologies that are developed based on the Building Block Strategy will fall under the SKYACTIV umbrella.

Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda's Representative Director, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, said, "Mazda is renewing its entire powertrain and platform lineup at the same time as revolutionizing every manufacturing process from R&D through to mass production. There have been no compromises in addressing conflicting goals. Instead, we have implemented a 'breakthrough' approach to technical innovation in all areas that has produced incredible, unexpected results. One of our success stories is the next-generation engine that will first appear in the Mazda Demio which goes on sale in the first half of 2011. Achieving an outstanding 30 kilometers per liter fuel economy, the SKYACTIV Demio will be a fun-to-drive fuel sipper that will satisfy anyone's desire for driving pleasure. And there will be many more exciting new products coming to the Mazda lineup in the years ahead."

* Compression ratio and some engine technologies vary depending on fuel type and vehicle specifications

† Measured according to Japan's 10-15 mode test cycle

Overview of the SKYACTIV technologies

A next-generation highly-efficient direct-injection gasoline engine that achieves the world's highest gasoline engine compression ratio of 14.0:1 with no abnormal combustion (knocking)
* The world's first gasoline engine for mass production vehicles to achieve a high compression ratio of 14.0:1
* Significantly improved engine efficiency thanks to the high compression combustion, resulting in 15 percent increases in fuel efficiency and torque
* Improved everyday driving thanks to increased torque at low- to mid-engine speeds
* A 4-2-1 exhaust system, cavity pistons, multihole injectors and other innovations enable the high compression ratio

A next-generation clean diesel engine that will meet global emissions regulations without expensive NOx aftertreatments - urea selective catalytic reduction (SCR) or a Lean NOx Trap (LNT) - thanks to the world's lowest diesel engine compression ratio of 14.0:1
* 20 percent better fuel efficiency thanks to the low compression ratio of 14.0:1
* A new two-stage turbocharger realizes smooth and linear response from low to high engine speeds, and greatly increases low- and high-end torque (up to the 5,200 rpm rev limit)
* Complies with global emissions regulations (Euro6 in Europe, Tier2Bin5 in North America, and the Post New Long-Term Regulations in Japan), without expensive NOx aftertreatment

A next-generation highly efficient automatic transmission that achieves excellent torque transfer efficiency through a wider lock-up range and features the best attributes of all transmission types
* Combines all the advantages of conventional automatic transmissions, continuously variable transmissions, and dual clutch transmissions
* A dramatically widened lock-up range improves torque transfer efficiency and realizes a direct driving feel that is equivalent to a manual transmission
* A 4-to-7 percent improvement in fuel economy compared to the current transmission

A light and compact next-generation manual transmission with crisp and light shift feel like that of a sports car, optimized for a front-engined front-wheel-drive layout
* Short stroke and light shift feel
* Significantly reduced size and weight due to a revised structure
* More efficient vehicle packaging thanks to its compact size
* Improved fuel economy due to reduced internal friction

A next-generation lightweight, highly-rigid body with outstanding crash safety performance and high rigidity for greater driving pleasure
* High rigidity and lightness (8 percent lighter, 30 percent more rigid)
* Outstanding crash safety performance and lightness
* A "straight structure" in which each part of the frame is configured to be as straight as possible. Additionally, a "continuous framework" approach was adopted in which each section functions in a coordinated manner with the other connecting sections
* Reduced weight through optimized bonding methods and expanded use of high-tensile steel

6. SKYACTIV-Chassis
A next-generation high-performance lightweight chassis that balances precise handling with a comfortable ride feel to realize driving pleasure
* Newly developed front strut and rear multilink suspension ensures high rigidity and lightness (The entire chassis is 14 percent lighter than the previous version.)
* Mid-speed agility and high-speed stability - enhanced ride quality at all speeds achieved through a revision of the functional allocation of all the suspension and steering components

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      More safety is NEVER a bad thing? Even if it adds hundreds of pounds and hundreds of dollars, results in significantly increased fuel consumption over the life of the vehicle, and saves... a few more lives per year? Maybe? Or none at all?

      Luxury/style items add weight, airbags add weight, but the ever-ratcheting safety standards add a lot of structural material (almost always steel) to every vehicle. Surely we're past the point of diminishing returns, and we may even be at the point where improving safety in one area reduces safety elsewhere. Take the massive A-pillars and the resultant fat blind spots we're getting courtesy of new rollover standards. Or the much greater energy that must be absorbed in collisions between (much heavier) vehicles.

      NHTSA calculates increased cost versus safety for any proposed safety regulation; it's high time they included increased weight and energy consumption in their analyses.

      Cars need to go on a diet, and that's next to impossible if regulators keep demanding more and more protection to prevent fewer and fewer injuries. NHTSA and CAFE are already at odds. How much more efficient could cars be if safety regulations were frozen?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Consider my interest fully piqued....

      I recall several Lotus experiments for various manufacturers, such as the most recent project utilizing the Toyota Venza, that showed how many efficiency goals could be reached in the shorter term and in the longer term. I'm particularly interested in what materials were used for the Body and Chassis as well as that manual transmission. This may point the direction for what we can expect from a number of manufacturers.

      • 4 Years Ago
      The fact that it's a Diesel getting 70mpg all but ensures that it's "Not available for sale in the U.S."
      • 4 Years Ago
      Can anyone explain why Mazda is creating a relatively low compression Diesel?

      I understand with Gas engines higher compression can lead to greater efficiency (obviously with other drawbacks), but what about the 14:1 compression diesel is better then the 16.5:1 that the VW TDI has?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lower NOx is the only reason I can think of. That might be necessary short-term to meet Euro VI. Long-term I can't see it sticking around because it reduces volumetric efficiency as you mention.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "With the diesel, Mazda moved in the opposite direction, decreasing the compression ratio from 16.3:1 down to 14:1. That’s the same as the gas-burning Sky-G, and a value that’s the lowest in the world among diesels, according to Mazda. Doing so reduces cylinder pressures, and therefore temperatures, which reduces NOx production and also allows the fuel to mix better, avoiding locally rich areas that produce soot. Mazda claims that the lessened friction from the reduced cylinder pressure alone is worth a 4- to 5-percent gain in fuel economy. And the reduced internal forces also allow components such as the rods and pistons to be substantially lighter. Here, too, a forged steel crankshaft replaces a cast-iron unit. Overall weight savings is a whopping 55 pounds."

        So lower NOx, less friction, less cylinder pressure and lighter engine components.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Isn't the main reason to avoid an expensive NOX catalyst and/or urea after-treatment? That would save big bucks, bucks to be put into actual efficiency upgrades.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Your math is wrong. Aren't you guys in the automotive business? Figure out how to do approximate fuel conversions or please stop trying.
      • 4 Years Ago
      on average it sounds like they made everything about 15% better (lighter, stronger, efficient)
      • 4 Years Ago
      70mpg isn't unthinkable on Japan's very optimistic mpg tests. On US tests it would be quite amazing. Even with a 14:1 compression ratio.

      For example, the Prius is rated at 30.4km/l on the new JC08 test cycle and 35.5 on the old, REALLY optimistic 10-15 test cycle.

      Both of these test cycles are in wide use in Japan, so you can't be sure which one Mazda is using as a test scale. So you're talking about a car that either would match the Prius on mpg (which would be very good) or get 43mpg, which honestly would be very good but not really amazing (to me at least) for a car this size.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "no abnormal knocking"? Does this mean the car will have normal knocking?
      • 4 Years Ago
      my prediction:

      1. Diesel won't come here ( as always ).
      2. Mazda will delay it even longer.
      3. Sky G will be a leap forward... although a leap forward would basically be catching up to Ford, GM, or Hyundai's new small powertrains.

      I hope this puts Mazda back in the game because i have always looked at Mazdas with envy until i saw the MPG.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow - that is some serious compression on gas.
      I wonder if it needs premium fuel to hit that...
        • 4 Years Ago
        I've seen lots of people do stuff out of garages and then dyno them and get this number or that - which is great.
        But it is not the same as building that by the tens of thousands and not the same as building that and having it run for 150k or 200k miles without any problems.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Most likely yes.

        You can run a DI engine at around 11:1 on 87 octane. Unless there is some voodoo magic here, it'd be safe to assume it needs premium.

        I bet that motor creates a ton of power per liter at that compression ratio. 14:1 is nuts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      70 mpg from Mazda?
      Sound too good to be true.
      Another Chevy Volt Hoax? (230 mpg)

      BTW, Why ford sell mazda's stake?
      I don't think they have better technology than Toyota and Honda.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Because they have to balance their budget. If they didn't sell Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Mazda's stock and killed Mercury, they would be in line with GM and Chrysler asking for money.

        Yeah that's the truth so I don't want to hear no stinking excuses from blind Ford fan boys.

        I really think Ford shot itself in the foot selling Volvo to the Chinese, Greely. The Chinese have cheaper labor but their car tech, including safety (crash test worthy), was a year or so behind not any more with Volvo.

        I totally bitched about Mercury and Lincoln coexisting and I'm happy they killed Mercury. Now build that gt40!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ford sold more of its stake to get cash. They still will be partners and without a controlling interest, it serves Ford no interest to own a large chunk of another company.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kodo Mazda 6 diesel in blue, please.
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