Mazda to Develop Spark-free Engine

Mazda are rumoured to be developing a compression based petrol engine to replace the current spark ignition technology.

Mazda have made it their mission to prove that electric isn’t the only way when it comes to improving efficiency and reducing emissions.  Over the years they’ve been improving and refining their incredible SKYACTIV technology, and the proof’s in the pudding; Mazda have been named most fuel-efficient automaker for 4 years running by EPA.  Continuing on this path, the Japanese manufacturer are working on a spark-free ignition engine.  This new ignition type is known as homogeneous-charge compression ignition (HCCI).

How does HCCI work?

Traditional petrol engines use spark plugs to ignite the air-fuel mixture.  HCCI would remove the need for this spark ignition. Instead it would apply pressure in order to ignite the fuel.  This is a similar method to the one used in diesel engines.  By replacing spark plugs with pressure, Mazda could see its petrol engines achieving similar efficiency to diesel.

Why haven’t we seen this technology before?

Mazda are by no means the first manufacturer to try their hand at HCCI.  General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen have all made attempts at this tricky tech.  However, petrol is far harder to ignite through compression than diesel.

And while we can all agree increased efficiency is a big plus, there are downsides to HCCI if it’s not achieved well.  Pressure induced ignition gives off high heat which can add to engine wear.  Additionally, HCCI produces higher carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions than a spark ignition engine.  HCCI is also far harder to control.  With traditional engines the timing is either controlled by a spark or the injection of fuel into pre-compressed air.  However, with HCCI pressure is applied to the pre-mixed fuel and air.  This means combustion begins whenever sufficient pressure and temperature are reached.

When will it be introduced?

With no official word from Mazda, it’s impossible to say when this new technology will be hitting the market.  But the current Mazda range already contains SKYACTIV-technology, which puts Mazda ahead of its competitors in terms of efficiency.  And Mazda aren’t stopping there when it comes to SKYACTIV.  They’ll continue refining the current design and making sure their cars offer great efficiency while still keeping thrill of driving alive.

Mazda Range

To find out more about the exciting and efficient Mazda range visit, or get in touch with one of our Mazda showrooms.  They’re located in Weybridge and Bookham in Surrey, and Orpington in Kent.