Want to Become an Auto Mechanic? Check Out Why Mazda's Skyactiv-X May Be the 'Holy Grail' of Engines
January 10, 2019
Although it hasn’t yet been released to the public, a lot of buzz has been surrounding Mazda’s newly unveiled Skyactiv-X engine. The revolutionary design, which will first be available as an option for the new Mazda3 set for release in 2019, uses cutting-edge technology to combine the best of diesel and gasoline engines. As a result, it’s meant to produce more power while also improving fuel economy and lowering emissions.
For anyone interested in becoming an auto mechanic, the Skyactiv-X is a fascinating lesson in engine design, and could provide a glimpse of the kind of advanced internal combustion engines that mechanics can expect to see in their shops in coming years.
Mazda Plans to Reduce Emissions While Sticking With Combustion Engines
While Mazda has plans to introduce more electric vehicles and hybrids, it’s stated that 85% of all of its cars will continue to use internal combustion engines until 2035. Despite this, the company has high goals with regards to lowering emissions, with a stated aim to reduce “well-to-wheel” carbon dioxide emissions to 50% of 2010 levels by 2030, and 90% by 2050. It hopes to achieve this, in part, with designs like the Skyactive-X, which uses an advanced form of hybrid ignition to lower emissions while maintaining a high standard of performance.
The Skyactiv-X Combines the Ignition Systems of Diesel and Gasoline Engines
In order to understand what makes the Skyactiv-X so special, it’s important for students in a car repair course to understand the difference between the two standard ignition systems, as the Skyactiv-X essentially combines both systems into one.
Diesel engines use compression ignition. In this system, pure air is compressed in a combustion chamber before diesel fuel is injected. When the diesel is injected, it’s ignited by the pressure of the compressed chamber, pushing the piston down the cylinder.
In a gasoline engine, on the other hand, a combination of air and gasoline is injected into the combustion chamber, where ignition is achieved with a spark plug. If the mixture of gasoline and air is too “rich,” however, meaning it has too much fuel or too little air, the engine will not be fuel efficient and it will produce higher emissions. If the mixture is too “lean,” meaning there’s too little fuel, the sparkplug won’t be able to ignite it.
What Anyone Who Wants to Become a Mechanic Should Know About the Skyactiv-X
The Skyactive-X engine combines spark and compression ignition in a system it calls Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI), which should be of great interest to anyone who wants to become an auto mechanic.
In this system, a lean mixture of gasoline and air is compressed in the combustion chamber. The mixture, however, is lean enough that compression alone will not ignite it. Rather, a localized area with a richer mix of fuel and air is created directly at the spark plug. As this area is ignited, it increases the pressure inside the combustion chamber, causing the lean fuel mixture to ignite by compression.
While the engine uses SPCCI for the bulk of its driving, regular spark ignition is sometimes needed for cold starts and very high RPM, but since the spark plug is always running, the engine can switch smoothly between both types of ignition.
With this advanced new ignition system, the Skyactiv-X produces up to 30% more torque than the current Skyactiv-G 2.0, and improves fuel efficiency up to 20% – 30% over Mazda’s current gasoline engine.
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