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Mazda to reveal new, spark-less gasoline engine

by Ben Hsu

The new homogeneous charge compression ignition system promises unprecedented efficiency.

Mazda is set to reveal a new type of spark-less engine at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

Mazda is no stranger to engineering innovative engines, having been the only automaker to successfully mass produce a rotary engine starting in 1967. Its latest SkyActiv engines are also unique in their super-high compression ratios that are able to yield hybrid-like mpg figures on regular octane fuel.

The company's new homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine is part of the next generation of SkyActiv II family. The first-of-its-kind engine will require no sparkplugs, instead using extreme compression to ignite the fuel. It's like a diesel, but uses regular petrol, and reportedly improves efficiency greatly.

According to Motoring.com.au, this new engine reveal at Frankfurt will be followed by a small car concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. That car is said to be the next-generation Mazda 3. However, the source states that it is actually more of a half-generation, as the underlying platform will not undergo major changes. Instead, the body, interior and engine will be completely new.

The HCCI technology will appear first in the compact before propagating throughout Mazda's lineup. Motoring also reports that the engines may use sparkplug ignition at low rpms, perhaps to compensate for HCCI's notoriously difficult timing accuracy. The article also states that HCCI might find its way into a rotary powered sports car.