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Mazda Claims 70 mpg For New Engine, No Hybrid Needed 576

Posted by timothy
from the zooming-along dept.
thecarchik writes "There's no word on when the new version of the Mazda2 will finally reach the US but when it does we can reveal that it will return a fuel economy of 70 mpg — without the aid of any electric motors. This is because the car will feature Mazda's next-generation of drivetrain, body and chassis technologies, dubbed SKYACTIV. The new Mazda 2 will come powered by a SKYACTIV-G engine, Mazda's next-generation direct injection gasoline mill that achieves significantly improved fuel efficiency thanks to a high compression ratio of 14.0:1 (the world's highest for a production gasoline engine)." I wonder if a real-life-real-drivers 70 mpg car is what will actually arrive, or if such promises will dissolve like Chevy's promises about the Volt did.
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Mazda Claims 70 mpg For New Engine, No Hybrid Needed

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  • by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Saturday October 23, 2010 @03:53PM (#33998482)

    Plenty of diesel cars already do 60-70MPG. With the advantage of having no ignition system to go wrong and lots of torque, horse power is a misleading gauge of power, torque is what turns the wheels.

    Sure, some people don't like diesels due to the noise they make. They are typically quieter when cruising as the RPM is often about 1000RPM lower than a petrol engine.

    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @03:58PM (#33998518)

      WTF is this news?

      VW Polo [volkswagen.co.uk]

      70 miles per US gallon highway.
      60 MPUSG combined.
      50 MPUSG City.

      • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Saturday October 23, 2010 @04:15PM (#33998682) Homepage

        I actually RTF(2nd)A, and it says:
        "Mazda expects it to come in at 28 mpg city, 35 mpg highway with the five-speed manual, and 1 mpg less on highway mileage with the automatic."

        Does not compute.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by bgt421 (1006945)
        It's news because it's a gasoline engine, not just because of efficiency. Gasoline is marginally more available and often cheaper than diesel.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647)

        Diesel contains significantly more energy per gallon than gasoline, so "MPG" comparisons to gasoline vehicles are totally useless.

        Also, the UK fuel economy ratings are hopelessly optimistic, as are the Japanese tests.

        The Third-Generation (ZVW30) Prius gets 59 MPUSG combined according to the UK tests, but 50 MPGUS according to the US tests. Anyone who actually drives their vehicle normally will tell you that the US tests are a lot closer to reality.

        Whenever someone announces that a vehicle "beats" the Prius

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The reason the UK tests give a higher MPG figure is because a "gallon" is defined differently in the UK..
          See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallon [wikipedia.org]

        • by voidptr (609)

          As long as a gallon of gas and a gallon of diesel cost close to the same at the pump, of course a head to head comparison is fair to some extent. At the end of the day, MPG is just a proxy for some cost per mile, and if a higher diesel mpg means a lower per mile cost, the fact that diesel is more energy dense then gasoline is somewhat academic.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Local ID10T (790134)

          Diesel contains significantly more energy per gallon than gasoline, so "MPG" comparisons to gasoline vehicles are totally useless.

          I have to disagree. The comparison may be imbalanced in terms of energy / volume, but as a consumer it is very useful because both can be reduced to miles per dollar.

          Example:

          • Car-1 gets 27 MPG running gasoline. I pay $3.19 per gallon. $0.12 per mile
          • Car-2 gets 40 MPG running diesel. I pay $3.79 per gallon. $0.09 per mile
        • by Chelmet (1273754) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @06:38PM (#33999732)

          Sorry to be a party pooper, but those numbers all stack up.

          A US gallon is 83% of a UK gallon, so the the MPG figures are going to vary.

          50 MPG (US) is roughly the same as 59 MPG (UK).

          When using US gallons, its hardly surprising that you reach the US figure, rather than the UK figure.

          Not everybody does things your way.

      • My Nissan Note diesel easily does 60mpg at 70mph, and 70+ mpg at 50mph. Admittedly, it's not terribly fast, but it is efficient.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Plenty of diesel cars already do 60-70MPG

      Well given diesel has higher energy density, they damn well better get better mileage compared to a typical gasoline-powered vehicle.

      Sure, some people don't like diesels due to the noise they make.

      You also neglected to point out:

      a) ULSD wasn't available in the US until relatively recently, which meant:
      i) It was difficult to hit emissions standards in a diesel engine
      ii) Manufacturers couldn't simply bring over European models, as they ne

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Quasar1999 (520073)
      I have a 2005 2.0L Mazda 3. It easily gets 40MPG, and if I pay attention to not mashing the gas pedal randomly while crusing (a big cause of wasted gas since the speed stays more or less the same but the fuel consumption increases), I can easily get 50MPG.

      I agree that Diesel has done this for a while. But, while you cite no ignition system to go wrong, I cite cheap maintenance costs (oil change on a diesel is much more expensive, and a recurring cost), and I live in Canada and can't be bothered to worry
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        I have a 2005 2.0L Mazda 3. It easily gets 40MPG

        Which is about the same as a '95 Protege. The question is, "why couldn't they improve the mileage in the course of a decade when gas prices were rising fast"?

    • I hear this a lot... but I cannot buy one at a local dealership in the USA.

      So they are irrelevant to me (and most of the rest of Slashdot's readers.)

  • by rossdee (243626) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @03:57PM (#33998514)

    Normally high compression engines require high octane fuel, which costs more to produce. In the past they used to add a lead compound to (cheaply) improve the octane rating. Won't be allowed to do that these days...

    It might get more MPG, but if the fuel costs more than teice as much per gallon you aren't going to save $$$

    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @04:00PM (#33998536)

      Pre detonation doesn't matter. It's a direct injection engine. Fuel isn't injected until it's wanted, like diesels.

      Normal gasoline engines have the air/fuel mixture inserted before the compression stroke.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CAIMLAS (41445)

        So it is, in essence, a diesel engine - that runs on gasoline. IIRC, diesel engines are around 14:1-16:1 for a DI diesel. I'd wager a guess that they offer (or will offer) a Mazda 2 overseas with the same engine running diesel (with glow instead of spark plugs, of course).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spagthorpe (111133)

      Well, it's four times what my current car gets. Even if I had to buy premium gas at double the price (it seems to be ~20% higher usually), I'd save quite a bit of money. In fuel anyway.

      I save money by purchasing cheap used cars. I'm betting I would have to drive the Mazda a long time before I ever broke even on the purchase.

    • In the U.S., at least, premium is nowhere near twice the cost of regular. http://www.fuelgaugereport.com/ [fuelgaugereport.com]
      It's actually pretty similar to the cost of diesel, currently.

  • Golf Diesel (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Snowblindeye (1085701)

    I wonder if a real-life-real-drivers 70 mpg car is what will actually arrive, or if such promises will dissolve like Chevy's promises about the Volt did.

    I used to drive an 85 VW Golf Diesel, that Car reliably got (actually got, under real world driving conditions) 47 mpg (5l/100km). That's a car that was build 25 years ago. Volkswagen also sold the Lupo 3L which got 78 miles per US gallon or 94 miles per Imperial gallon [wikipedia.org]

    It boggles my mind that 25 years later most cars I can buy in the US get half of what my 25 year old car got. If that. It also means that getting 70 shouldn't be impossible. Thats 3.3l/100km, and it's been done.

    • Re:Golf Diesel (Score:5, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @04:12PM (#33998646)

      Older cars were so economical because they were so light. Newer cars are far more robust in an accident.

      Safety or economy, choose one.

      • by cduffy (652)

        Have a look at the IIHS crash test ratings for the Smart Fortwo.

        It's modern engineering features that make for safer cars -- not just pure mass.

      • Re:Golf Diesel (Score:5, Insightful)

        by foetusinc (766466) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @05:05PM (#33999080)

        No, it's because for the last 25 years automakers have catered to people's very marketable desire to go faster over their only recently discovered desire to go "green". Fuel was more expensive in Europe, and money less plentiful in the rest of the world, so they focused more on efficiency. Over here in the states we had plenty of money, and plenty of cheap gas, so we designed our cars for that environment. All engines have gotten more efficient over the years, but where a Euro might use that extra efficiency to save gas, we used it to go faster. What's worse is that American drivers now think that if their basic commuter car can't outrun a sports car from 25 years ago, they're getting cheated somehow.

        1984 Porsche 944 - 150hp, 2900lbs
        2011 Honda Accord EX - 190hp, 3300lbs

        There's zero reason for a commuter car to have a 0-60 time 8 seconds, or a top speed of 120mph+, yet that's become a totally normal performance envelope. You have to push boundaries that would have been muscle car territory not that long ago to officially be considered "sporty".

    • by johnkzin (917611)

      17 year ago, when I drove a Geo Metro (manual transmission, no AC), it was rated for 49/50 MPG, and that's exactly what I got. However, it spoiled me for other cars. I hear people rave about how great their cars do... at 28-30 MPG, and I think "that's TERRIBLE". For various reasons, for this year only, I'm stuck in a Ford 500. I average 20MPG. I feel guilty every time I start the engine.

  • Please wake me up when this engine can stop and start on demand, like it does in current hybrids. Burning fuel while stopped can never be a good thing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by JDmetro (1745882)
      Stopping and starting an engine also wastes energy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tftp (111690)

        Stopping and starting an engine also wastes energy.

        It's certainly true if you repeatedly start and stop a car made in 1960's.

        But it won't be true if the ICE is designed for that. For example, Prius has no 1900-era DC brush starter, and the ICE can be started with electrical energy or the mechanical energy produced by the inertia of the car. The energy "wasted" to compress the air in the cylinder before first ignition is returned thousandfold in a millisecond.

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @04:08PM (#33998600)

      Burning fuel while stopped can never be a good thing.

      Yeah, right. Try starting and stopping the engine at every stop light when it's forty below zero outside... even aside from the lack of heat inside we quite often see cars that have stalled in those temperatures and simply won't start again.

      • Code fix. If external_temp -20F, don't shutdown. Wow, that was *extremely* difficult.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by 0123456 (636235)

          Code fix. If external_temp -20F, don't shutdown. Wow, that was *extremely* difficult.

          Which part of 'burning fuel while stopped can never be a good thing' are you having a hard time understanding?

          • Code fix. If external_temp -20F, don't shutdown. Wow, that was *extremely* difficult.

            Which part of 'burning fuel while stopped can never be a good thing' are you having a hard time understanding?

            Probably the part where that statement is always true in all situations. Absolutes are rarely correct.

            At extremely low temperatures, you need the waste heat from the engine to provide passenger compartment heat for defrosting the windows. If your heater doesn't work correctly around here in the coldest part of winter, it's very possible to have frost form on the inside of the windows as well as the outside.

            Battery performance is also lower in extreme cold weather, so you really need the alternator produci

      • by tftp (111690) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @04:23PM (#33998758) Homepage

        Yeah, right. Try starting and stopping the engine at every stop light when it's forty below zero outside

        It's a trivial engineering task. Prius, for example, has auxiliary electric heaters, and it maintains the engine temperature (and battery charge) automatically. If it's -40C outside the ICE will run a bit more, and that's all. This shouldn't be of any concern to the driver unless he lives in Alaska; then he'd be getting worse MPG than people in California do.

        And on the subject of starting a cold ICE in cold weather. Hybrids start the ICE at higher RPM, and they have 100x power of a standard starter. So if the ICE in a hybrid doesn't start it's because something is broken, not because your battery is frozen solid and the starter barely spins the crankshaft.

    • Were you awake in 1999?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Lupo [wikipedia.org]

      The Lupo 3L was a special-edition made with the intent of being the world's first car in series production consuming as little as 3 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres (78 miles per US gallon or 94 miles per Imperial gallon). To achieve this the 3L was significantly changed from the standard Lupo to include:
      1.2 litre 3-cylinder diesel engine with turbocharger and direct injection (61 hp, 140 Nm)
      Use of light-weight aluminum and magnesium alloys

      • by tftp (111690)

        Engine start/stop automatic to avoid long idling periods

        The key word is "this engine", not some other engine. Unless you imply that Lupo 3L, back in 1999, used exactly this Mazda engine.

  • Could get 50mpg backin 1989. Yes 70 is pretty nice but its taken 21 YEARS to improve 20mpg.

  • You mean everyone doesn't always drive down hill, with a 200 mph hurricane wind at their backs?

    Oh, and that sail? Well, we call that 'bling'. What do you mean you don't have one too?

  • A high-compression ratio engine is a classic situation where your are recommended, even REQUIRED to fill up with premium. Nevermind mpg, what about dollars per mile?

  • I've got a 1998 Nissan 200SX in the garage right now.
    This was the cheap POS Nissan at the time--more of a student's car than a smugmobile.
    40MPG without even trying, and I can get 42 out of it if I keep the speed down and coast a lot.
    WHY, 13 years later, do I have to pay $40K for a giant toxic battery that will wear out after 5 years in order to get the same damned mileage I already get?

    I don't believe the 70MPG claim. If they made a car where trip odometer / gas pump number = 70 every time, they'd tell us

    • While the EPA hasn't rated 2011 cars for gas mileage yet, Mazda expects it to come in at 28 mpg city, 35 mpg highway with the five-speed manual, and 1 mpg less on highway mileage with the automatic.

      Not even close to what we got over a decade ago.
      WTF happened? Environmental restrictions?
      I have to get my car smogged every 2 years in the county where I live. It passes first time every time.
      What's the problem with the new cars?

  • I'll believe it when I see it.

    Too many foreign cars have promised really high mileage, only to be dropped significantly once U.S. requirements are tacked on.

    Personally, I just want to see engine auto-stop added to all cars. It would require only a slightly bigger standard 12V battery, and a slightly bigger starter. And you could cut city gas usage by a decent amount. Heck, assuming 70 MPG means highway, it could probably hit at least 60 MPG city with engine auto-stop added.

  • by mrvook (1329773) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @05:08PM (#33999098)
    70mpg is misleading for this automobile, as is the article. These numbers are based on the Japanese test cycle, which also states the Toyota Prius achieves 89 mpg).

    src : http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/21/mazda-next-generation-mazda-2-will-get-70-m-p-g/ [nytimes.com]

    -- cut --

    The Mazda release said the car would achieve 70 miles per gallon, but that number was based on the Japanese test cycle, meaning American mileage would be lower. A 15 percent increase from the existing Mazda 2 would result in a combined 37 m.p.g. (For comparison, the Toyota Prius, which gets a combined 50 m.p.g. from the Environmental Protection Agency, achieves 89 m.p.g. in the Japanese test.)

    -- cut --
  • by repetty (260322) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @05:10PM (#33999112) Homepage

    I'm not knocking progress but...

    This merely represents an improvement in dead-end technology (burning things to go places).

    --Richard

  • Lighter is better (Score:3, Informative)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @05:56PM (#33999454) Journal
    When talking about fuel economy, team Edison2 [edison2.com] have proven, light weight and low drag beat hybrids with heavy batteries.
  • by Andy Smith (55346) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @06:01PM (#33999486) Homepage

    70mpg sounds good. But is it a huge leap forward? I have a 4-year-old Toyota Corolla Verso 2.2-litre turbo diesel and I get 66mpg cruising.

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