|Photo Credit: Chris Nagy|
Despite the fact many of us are still enjoying the second-half of the summer of 2017, auto companies have already geared themselves for the future. With months remaining, we are already setting sights on 2018 vehicles in dealerships and on the road. A brand-new Toyota Camry, the super-sleek Kia Stinger and perhaps the odd Tesla Model 3 are some of the centerpieces for a year yet to come. For manufacturers, realizing the technology and designs for 2018 involved several years of development prior to the customary auto show debut. During the same time the 2018 automotive reality is taking shape, Mazda is launching a profound vision for their brand 12 years beyond next year.
Described by the automaker as “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030", long-term intentions of Mazda to flourish towards the end of the next decade through addressing environmental, safety and customer enjoyment factors. Systems adhering to the Mazda Proactive Safety philosophy aims to considerably reduce traffic accidents. Expansion of the brand’s existing i-ACTIVSENSE electronic safety features will result in greater standardization on all models in several markets for 2018. Future execution of Mazda’s KODO design language is also going to insure a driver visibility and seating position maximizing the safest possible vehicle operation. Along with a continuing emphasis of in-vehicle connectivity, Mazda’s technology suite is also set to include autonomous driving features. Inspired from the Mazda Co-Pilot Concept, a driver-assist system would be standard equipment on all 2025 model year vehicles.
Besides word of autonomous driving components, emission and engine efficiency planned for future Mazda models are another highly ambitious point of “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030". Mazda’s plans include a drastic reduction to the carbon dioxide emissions produced by their vehicles over the next 12 years. Greatly cutting the environment impact for their vehicle range, Mazda targets to reduce half their 2010 fleet level of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. Mazda even envisions 90 percent reduction of carbon dioxide by the year 2050. Electric cars added to the vehicle product range will play a role in decreasing emissions alongside improved fuel-burning engines.
Planning a full array of design and engineering production feats scheduled for release through the end of the next decade, Mazda’s masterpiece will be the introduction of an all-new SkyActiv gasoline engine. Classified as the SkyActiv-X, the upcoming powerplant line is touted to achieve enhanced heights in performance and efficiency. A key feature of the Mazda SkyActiv-X engine is the use of an advanced function called compression ignition. Also known as Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition, creates an ultra-efficient fuel burn inside the engine by pressing the air-fuel mixture together to the point it could ignite without a spark plug. The Mazda SkyActiv-X engine will appear to use a combination of compression ignition with traditional spark plug-based ignition for maximum performance and as much as 30 percent greater efficiency over the current SkyActiv-G technology. A supercharger will also be incorporated on the upcoming engine for greater power optimization and fuel economy. The full details of Mazda’s SkyActiv-X engine are set to be unveiled in 2019.
In all its ambition, Mazda’s “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030" plan will undoubtedly face the usual obstacles of any long-term visions. Exploration into new technologies requires engineers to iron-out any pitfalls. The compression ignition system has underwent significant research by several other automakers over the course of roughly 20 years including Nissan and General but have yet to employ the technology in a production engine. A relatively shorter term intention of Mazda to bring a diesel-powered product to the North American market proved to be a challenge that the company has now been able to meet. Mazda will also need to provide their overall vision in a manner that convinces a growing customer base.