Mazda is delaying the launch of the North American-spec SKYACTIV-D diesel engine, as engineers grapple with getting the engine to meet both emissions and performance benchmarks in North American spec.
A report by Automotive News suggests that Mazda is struggling with getting the diesel mill to where they want it without the inclusion of an exhaust after-treatment system. AN‘s Ryan Beene spoke with Mazda PR head Jeremy Barnes, who offered an explanation for the series of delays
“There are challenges with meeting the emissions standards without after-treatment systems,” Barnes said. “We believed our Skyactiv technology can meet it — and it can — but the challenge is engineering a car that delivers the kind of performance that a Mazda needs to have and we’re unable to do that given where we are right now.”
AN reports that in addition to forgoing an after-treatment system, Mazda is investigating alternatives including a urea based after-treatment, or a special catalyst to reduce nitrous oxide emissions.
Mazda has also had other issues with the SKYACTIV-D motor, involving diesel fuel leaking into the oil sump which could lead to a clogged Diesel Particulate Filter. The only real fix for the issue so far has been a modified dipstick and a request for owners to vigilantly monitor oil consumption. In America, where diesel engines are a rather unknown quantity in passenger cars and deferred maintenance is the order of the day for many motorists, this would likely be an unacceptable solution.