So far Mazda has taken a somewhat unconventional route to improving fuel efficiency of its vehicle fleet, focusing on lighter materials and new designs instead of rebuilding its powertrain lineup. It has done the company well, but to move to the next level of efficiency the automaker is also planning on upgrading its engine and transmission lineup.
At next month’s 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda will reveal its next-generation of powertrain technologies, which include two new engines and an advanced automatic transmission.
Mazda SKY D diesel engineEnlarge Photo
Grouped under the ‘SKY’ family of technologies, the lineup will include the new SKY-G direct injection gasoline engine, SKY-D clean diesel engine, and SKY Drive high-efficiency automatic transmission.
The engines and transmissions are due to be introduced from 2011 onward.
The engines use conventional technologies but by improving thermal efficiencies and reducing mechanical friction, Mazda engineers have managed to curb fuel consumption.
Mazda SKY Drive transmissionEnlarge Photo
For the SKY-G direct injection gasoline engine, Mazda has managed to improve fuel economy over its current 2.0-liter gasoline engine by approximately 15%. The SKY-D clean diesel engine, meanwhile, improves the fuel economy over Mazda’s current 2.2-liter diesel by 20%.
Finally, there is the new SKY-Drive automatic transmission. It improves fuel economy by approximately 5%, due to a complete redesign that significantly reduces mechanical friction, a revised torque converter and clutch with minimized slip, and an optimized lock-up mechanism. A rapid clutch action was achieved by identifying the minimum amount of fluid necessary, making shifts feel almost like a dual clutch transmission.
Also on show in Tokyo will be Mazda’s Kiyora minicar concept, first seen at last year’s Paris Auto Show. The Kiyora is a preview of Mazda’s next-generation minicar and promises a fuel economy of 75 mpg.