• Aug 9th 2012 at 7:54AM
  • 12
You may have noticed that Mazda hasn't released a lineup of electric vehicles, hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles. So, how will the automaker reach the demanding 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 federal mandate? By going lightweight and utilizing its Skyactiv technology.

As part of its Skyactiv program, Mazda dropped 575 pounds off its CX-5 crossover from its similar-sized predecessor, the CX-7. Now the goal is shed at least 220 pounds every time it redesigns one of its models. That's a tough thing to do, but Mazda still has a lot of room, said Dave Coleman, vehicle development engineer for Mazda's North American operations at the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, MI.

The automaker last year said it was looking to boost fleetwide fuel economy by about 30 percent over the next three years largely through its Skyactiv program, which uses better engine, transmission, aerodynamics and lightweight technology to cut fuel use in its internal combustion engines. Mazda has set a goal to sell as many as 160,000 Skyactiv vehicles a year.

To lighten a car, engineers face the battle of overcoming tough obstacles. For example, making sure safety and emissions regulations are met, and that consumer demand for comfort and convenience features are delivered, all of which add to the vehicle's weight. Mazda has adopted a few alternatives to do so, such as using less steel, installing bolts in the CX-5 that are 8 grams lighter. Mazda will continue looking for more advanced materials in future generations of SkyActiv models.

Eventually, the costs will come down as they become more widely used in the industry, Coleman says. Electrification of new models with advanced battery systems is costing automakers and consumers big bucks to adopt, and Mazda plans to add those technologies further down the line. For now, it's confident that SkyActiv and lightweighting are the ways to go.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      Tweaker
      • 3 Years Ago
      What's a Skyactiv again?
        Actionable Mango
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tweaker
        An engineering effort to increase fuel efficiency from looking at every single thing bumper to bumper. Motor, transmission, aerodynamics, weight, and more.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tweaker
        Making up for a decade of ignoring engine technology, lol. skyactiv.. aka.. 'we caught up with hyundai'
      Marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Skyactiv, kinda like trying to produce a really refined Dinosaur !
      Giza Plateau
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder why electric drive has to be expensive to develop if you can buy batteries off the shelf and electric motors is a 120 year old technology.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        The problem is that Lithium batteries are not a 120 year old technology, more like 20 years old.. mass adoption only happened around 10 years ago. Lithium batteries still have a way to go.
        Actionable Mango
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Decent batteries are a cutting edge technology. The costs of these batteries is expected to plummet in a few years.
      BipDBo
      • 3 Years Ago
      So they are spending their limited R&D funds right now on aerodynamics and lightweighting while the big guys work out electrification. When the prices eventually go down for batteries, motors, controllers, etc, and the kinks are more or less worked out of EVs and plug-ins, they'll come in with their lightweight, sleek designs and build some very nice EVs and hybrids. Considering that Mazda is a relatively small player, I can't argue with their business model.
        PeterScott
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        Agree, but I think that works better for EVs than hybrids. EVs are are relatively straight forward, but hybrids require tight integration between ICE/EV motors which isn't as plug and play and may be heavily patent encumbered on the better systems like the Toyota HSD power combiner. I don't see off the shelf Hybrid buying, they need a partner for this IMO.
        Actionable Mango
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        Was going to say the exact same thing. It's the perfect model for the small automaker, and the work they've done with skyactiv can be applied later to electric.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        BipDBo I agree. They will be in perfect position when suppliers like Bosch, etc eventually have off-the-shelf EV components available for order off their catalogs. Everything from off-the-shelf chargers to high efficiency windshield wiper motors. All of the early adopter stuff that is going on now, will feed back to cheaper EV prices for all manufactures because of our modern supplier/manufacturer model of supply chain production.
      PeterScott
      • 3 Years Ago
      This probably makes sense for a small player like Mazda with limited engineering dollars. The vast majority of car sales are still straight up liquid fuel burners and most companies likely don't see any real bottom line benefit to hybrids (outside of Toyota). The problem will be when Hybrids/EREVs become a necessity. Can they find a will partner to get in on the game as it will likely be to late to go it alone. Also I might add that the car I most interested in owning next is a next gen Mazda 3 with the new styling (death to the smiley face) and full skyactive treatment.
    Share This Photo X