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Mazda3 to get plugless high-compression engine next year

by Justin King

With compression forces strong enough to ignite gasoline without a spark, the HCCI tech is claimed to improve efficiency by 30 percent.

Mazda's plugless high-compression engine is reportedly on track to make its production debut next year.

The next-generation SkyActiv gasoline engine implements homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) technology. Taking inspiration from diesel mills, HCCI's 18:1 compression ratio generates enough heat to burn the air/fuel mixture without spark plugs.

Previous reports suggest Mazda is targeting an impressive 30-percent jump in fuel efficiency. If true, the next SkyActiv engines could compete with hybrid vehicles -- without the need for electrification or CVTs.

The new engine will make its first appearance in a revamped Mazda3, due to arrive late in 2018, according to a Nikkei report spotted by Autoblog.

The Japanese automaker is said to be pursuing significant advancements in internal-combustion technology alongside its electrification strategy, expecting gasoline to power the majority of its fleet for years. Its first electrified vehicles are expected in 2019, while a plug-in is said to be on the roadmap for 2021.

Without any hybrids or EVs in its current offerings, Mazda retained its leading position in the EPA's annual Light Duty Fuel Economy Trends report with an adjusted fleet-wide average of 29.6 mpg for the 2015 model year and a preliminary 30.7 mpg for MY2017.

Image by Byron Hurd.