Production of the next SKYACTIV Tech equipped machine begins in earnest.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Aug. 1, 2012
The all-new 2014 Mazda6 up front.
Yamaguchi prefecture, Japan -- Mazda’s Hofu Plant No. 2 was the site of a celebration of sorts as the company announced it has begun production of its all-new third generation Mazda6.
Approximately 500 employees of the Mazda Corporation were on hand for the celebration including Mazda’s Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, Takashi Yamanouchi. The first vehicle to come off the line was a European Mazda6 wagon powered by the SKYACTIV-G 2.0L gasoline engine.
Takashi Yamanouchi: "It is the 30 year anniversary of the start of operations here in the Nishinoura district of the Hofu Plant and the 10th anniversary of the start of production of the first-generation Mazda6, back in 2002. That first Mazda6 debuted as an embodiment of Mazda’s brand message, Zoom-Zoom, and its success led to great improvement in our brand image. The new Mazda6 that starts rolling off the line today features both SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and KODO – Soul of Motion design as well as Mazda’s unique and all-new brake energy regeneration system, i-ELOOP. Its development represents the very best of our engineering capability and our uncompromising attention to detail.”
One of the team members directly involved with putting the pieces together, Masatsugu Ohgi from the Trim & Final Assembly Group added the following: “Incorporating everything we have learned about quality improvement through the production of nine million vehicles over 30 years at Hofu, we are determined to deliver a new generation Mazda6 that will outperform the previous model in every respect and stir the emotions of customers around the world.”
SKYACTIV-G 2.0L Overview
- Exceptionally high 13:1 compression ratio in North America (14:1 in other markets due to a higher octane fuel).
- Extraordinary compression ratio made possible thanks to a 4-2-1 exhaust system, redesigned piston cavity, new multi-port injectors as well as other innovations to avoid abnormal combustion (knocking).
- Continuously variable sequential valve timing (dual S-VT) on the intake and exhaust minimizes pumping losses.
- Internal engine friction was reduced by 30 percent.
- Overall engine weight was reduced by 10 percent.
Even after a century of continuous improvement, the internal combustion engine has yet to overcome the waste of 60 to 90 percent of its potential due to thermal energy losses attributed to the exhaust, cooling system, and engine and transmission surfaces.
By rethinking common thermodynamic principles, Mazda engineers have succeeded in building an engine with an extraordinarily high 13:1 compression ratio that can run on regular 87 Octane gasoline.
While raising the compression ratio in a gasoline engine increases its thermal efficiency and its fuel economy, high compression in conventional engines leads to unwanted knocking and the associated reduction in torque. A richer mixture and delayed ignition timing are used to avoid knocking, but these come at the expense of fuel economy and torque. So how was this issue overcome?
Mazda developed a special 4-2-1 exhaust manifold which due to its relatively long runner structure prevents the exhaust gas that has just moved out of the cylinder from being forced back into the combustion chamber. The resulting reduction in compression temperature inhibits knocking.
The SKYACTIV-G 2.0L engine received special piston cavities, which allow the initial combustion flames to propagate without interference, and new multi-hole injectors, which enhance fuel spray characteristics. Together with the 4-2-1 exhaust manifold, these innovations resulted in a substantial 15 percent increase in torque and fuel economy over Mazda’s older 2.0L gasoline engine.
To improve engine efficiency further, it is also necessary to reduce the pumping losses that occurs at lower engine loads when the piston draws in air through a tight restriction called the throttle plate while moving downward during the intake stroke.
Mazda managed to minimize pumping loss with a continuously variable dual S-VT (sequential valve timing) on the intake and exhaust valves. This changes the opening and closing timing of the valves, enabling the air intake quantity to be controlled by the valves rather than the throttle.
The working end.
Mazda’s next generation regenerative braking system uses a super capacitor in lieu of a battery for quick energy storage and release. Mazda claims that in real-world driving conditions with frequent acceleration and braking, 'i-ELOOP' improves fuel economy by as much as 10 percent. While there is always an advantage to using regenerative braking rather than throwing it away any time you have to step on the brake, 10% is a rather large step.
'i-ELOOP' efficiently converts the vehicle's kinetic energy into electricity as it decelerates, and uses the electricity to power the climate control fans, audio system and the rest of the 12V ancillary systems requirements.
'i-ELOOP' features a new 12-25V variable voltage alternator, a low-resistance electric double layer capacitor and a DC/DC converter. 'i-ELOOP' starts to recover kinetic energy the moment the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal and the vehicle begins to decelerate. The variable voltage alternator generates electricity at up to 25V for maximum efficiency before sending it to the Electric Double Layer Capacitor (EDLC) for storage. The capacitor, which has been specially developed for use in a vehicle, can be fully charged in seconds. The DC/DC converter steps down the electricity from 25V to 12V before it is distributed directly to the vehicle's electrical components. The system also charges the vehicle battery as necessary. 'i-ELOOP' operates whenever the vehicle decelerates, reducing the need for the engine to burn extra fuel to generate electricity.
Put it all together and you have close to hybrid like capability in an urban setting and diesel like capability out on the super slab. Add the gorgeous exterior and it will keep you smiling for years to come. While we have yet to see a close-up or sit in its interior, with a Wards 10 Best Interiors recently awarded to the CX-5, the 6 will probably provide better.
She has a nice looking rear end if I do say so myself
And I still cannot wait to drive the all-newMazda6 with both the SKYACTIV-G the and SKYACTIV-D turbo diesel!