Tag: Efficiency

By on September 16, 2017

2015 Mazda RX Vision Concept - Image: Mazda

Mazda recently announced the testing of its Skyactiv-X compression ignition engine, which promises to burn gasoline with diesel-like efficiency. If it hits its projected launch date of 2019, it will become the first mass-produced motor of its type and is likely to be showered with praise from environmentalists and enthusiasts alike.

However, as we progress deeper into the millennium, it’s becoming evident that more and more automakers are willing to embrace electricity as the next solution to efficiency. That makes Mazda a bit of an oddity, maybe even a dinosaur, and we were wondering when the company would give in to electrification. Especially since it has already partnered with Toyota to tighten its grasp on the technology.  (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2017

2017 Mazda 3 - Image: MazdaMazda announced on August 8th what had long been rumored. The small Japanese automaker has successfully overcome the remaining issues which held at bay mass production of gasoline compression ignition.

Essentially, Mazda’s Skyactiv-X engines, due first in the next-generation 2019 Mazda 3, is intended to bring diesel-like ignition to small, supercharged four-cylinder engines, along with diesel-like fuel economy. However, the gas-fired Skyactiv-X engines will be wildly cleaner than diesel powerplants. Mazda has said in the past that these HCCI engines will likely limit the need for continuously variable transmissions. We also learned, with Mazda’s latest pronouncement, that the company’s Skyactiv-X engines will be significantly torquier than their Skyactiv-G predecessors.

If Mazda can live up to its pronouncements — the company says the engines are “still under development and figures are subject to change” — it’ll be a win for both the environment and driving enthusiasts. And because Mazda also claims a 20-30-percent improvement in fuel efficiency, it’ll be a win for your bank account, as well.

We wanted to see exactly where Mazda’s alleged fuel savings will put Mazda’s current products on the EPA’s miles per gallon scale, so here are the results of some quick math. (Read More…)

By on October 27, 2016

Infiniti four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline VC-T engine, Image: Infiniti

It was 1998 and my friend Tom had just picked up a 1991 Eagle Talon TSI AWD.

“Ok, go ahead and floor it, but don’t rev it past 5,000 rpm,” Tom said.

I mashed the throttle and … nothing happened.

We were moving, but it was at the pace of a Toyota Corolla and nowhere near the rate of acceleration promised by the 2.0-liter turbo’s claimed 195 horsepower.

Disappointed, I left my foot on the throttle for a few seconds. Suddenly, I heard the whistle of the spooling turbo and a sudden shove of boost kicked in.

Four-cylinder turbo engines from the ‘90s were all similar to this. While they generated relatively big power at the top end, they also suffered from massive turbo lag and had fuel economy similar to a much larger V8.

Nissan’s new Variable Compression Turbo engine promises big power, minimal turbo lag, and decent fuel economy using some new trickery.

Is this the holy grail of turbocharged motors?
(Read More…)

By on May 19, 2016

2014 Red Bull F1

The complaint most often tossed at Formula 1 is that despite being the (alleged) pinnacle of motorsports, its relevancy to road cars has disappeared.

That same feeling is what brought us to the current formula of tiny 1.6-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engines, all coupled to a complex hybrid system. Since that move, the racing series has focused more on engine development that in almost any era before, and with that comes a breakthrough in the way we look at thermal efficiency.  (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2016

Honda-ARC-Line-2

Henry Ford’s way of building cars was so 20th Century, so Honda tried something new.

Workers at the automaker’s new Thailand plant now stay in motion all day, moving with the vehicle as it travels down the assembly line, Automotive News reports. (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2016

Volkswagen 1.5-liter TSI engine

Diesel? What’s that?

Volkswagen is embracing a far less controversial type of fuel with its new 1.5-liter TSI engine, unveiled yesterday at the Vienna Motor Symposium.

The ultra-efficient four-cylinder uses variable turbine geometry (VTG) in its turbocharger to generate peak torque at a low 1,300 rpm, then maintain a flat torque curve until about 4,500 rpm. This leads to fuel economy gains and a better driving experience. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2015

2016 Buick Encore

General Motors announced Monday a new trim for the 2016 Buick Encore that will use a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four, which will be the first application of a new global-engine platform. The car will go on sale this fall.

According to GM, the new mill produces 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque — an 11 percent gain in power and 20 percent gain in twist over the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine currently doing duty in the cute ute. The two engines share only similar displacements. The current mill is rated at 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque.

There’s also a new Encore trim called Encore Sport Touring and it has a spoiler and 18-inch wheels and body-colored door handles and back to the engine.

(Read More…)

By on November 28, 2012

The late Gore Vidal was fond of saying, “Gratitude can be a complicated thing.”

He was right. Whether you are a hater, or simply a chronic critic, the act of complimenting those who follow the beat of a different drummer is usually not within the tip of the human tongue.

We want things our way… and sometimes we’re just plain wrong.

(Read More…)

By on August 3, 2012

In the eternal quest to adhere to “sustainability”, Lamborghini will apparently be fitting the Aventador with a start-stop system and cylinder deactivation. Am I the only one that finds the recent trend of eco-friendly supercars ridiculous?

(Read More…)

By on September 2, 2011

The Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy testing system is notoriously weak, relying on self-reporting for the vast majority of vehicles, and exhibiting vulnerabilities to “gaming.” But rather than attacking each others’ EPA numbers, automakers seem to have agreed that it’s best if everyone does their best to juice their own numbers and allows the imperfect system to limp on. But over at Automotive News [sub], we’re hearing what could be the first shots fired in a new war over EPA ratings, as Product Editor Rick Kranz reveals that an OEM is starting to complain about another OEM’s fuel economy ratings. He writes:

An executive of one U.S. automaker suggests there might be some sleight of hand going on and that the EPA is not catching the offenders.

The issue: There’s a noticeable difference between the mpg number posted on some cars’ window sticker and an analysis of the data submitted by automakers to the EPA.

Ruh-roh!

(Read More…)

By on February 5, 2009

According to a study by the Consumer Federation of America (PDF), relatively low gas prices haven’t done much to change consumer trends towards more fuel-efficient vehicles. This revelation comes amid claims that small car demand was artificially inflated by high gas prices and increased truck production from General Motors. The survey asked respondents to rate the importance of gas prices, global warming and US dependence on Middle East oil over the next five years, with 76 percent reporting “great concern” for gas prices and energy independence.

(Read More…)

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