Mazda may be well on its way to introducing a new Mazda3 already, and reports indicate the new model may be bringing along an all-new, sparkless ignition gasoline engine with it.
The new homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) is set to be an industry first, which Mazda reportedly plans to preview at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Following that, a new Mazda3 concept, designed on the same platform as the current generation of the car, will show up sporting the new tech at the Tokyo Motor Show in October, according to Australia’s Motoring.
The new HCCI engine technology isn’t so new—it’s a similar model to the functionality of diesel engines, and gasoline engine applications have been under development by multiple companies for years.
Basically, the HCCI engine should forgo the use of spark plugs, instead igniting fuel by spraying it into a high pressure, high temperature chamber to get combustion. The conceptual benefit behind such an application in conventional engines is a sharp increase in efficiency, but the headache with the technology is the concern over replacing the reliable timing you get from spark plugs.
The car we’ll supposedly be getting a concept for in October is based on the current Mazda3's platform, but will follow the path paved by the new Mazda CX-5 in being an otherwise overhauled designed. Following the introduction of the new HCCI engine in the next generation 3, it’s reported that it will spread to the rest of the company’s lineup.
Also thrown into the Motoring report were indications that Mazda is working on an HCCI application for the rotary engine. (Mazda has confirmed it’s still ‘working’ on rotary engine applications, but wisely has never promised to deliver.)
Motoring claims that HCCI rotary engine will come with a new sports car by the end of the decade (something we’ve heard from them before), along with Mazda’s first electric car. Beyond 2020, the report claims Mazda will introduce a performance lineup based on a new HCCI version of the 2.5-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine in the current CX-9.
All of that sounds interesting, and even great! It sounds like Mazda is the first major automaker to get this sparkless ignition tech down, and they’re putting all of their eggs in that high compression basket. That, coupled with the claim about a rotary sports car and electric car in the next three years, still has me skeptical, though. Good thing I only have to doubt it for few more weeks.