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Transportation Technology

Mazda Announces Breakthrough In Long-Coveted Engine Technology (reuters.com) 271

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Mazda Motor Corp said it would become the world's first automaker to commercialize a much more efficient petrol engine using technology that deep-pocketed rivals have been trying to engineer for decades, a twist in an industry increasingly going electric. The new compression ignition engine is 20 percent to 30 percent more fuel efficient than the Japanese automaker's current engines and uses a technology that has eluded the likes of Daimler AG and General Motors Co. Mazda, with a research and development (R&D) budget a fraction of those of major peers, said it plans to sell cars with the new engine from 2019. A homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine ignites petrol through compression, eliminating spark plugs. Its fuel economy potentially matches that of a diesel engine without high emissions of nitrogen oxides or sooty particulates. Mazda's engine employs spark plugs under certain conditions, such as at low temperatures, to overcome technical hurdles that have hampered commercialization of the technology.
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Mazda Announces Breakthrough In Long-Coveted Engine Technology

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  • by denbesten ( 63853 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2017 @04:00PM (#54968771)
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mazda-strategy-idUSKBN1AO0E7 [reuters.com]

    It appears that the editor *actually read* the article, causing Reuters to scroll to the next story and change the URL. Will wonders never cease.

    • by Optic7 ( 688717 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2017 @04:20PM (#54968955)

      The never-ending single page is the worst trend in webdesign today, or perhaps ever. I was trying to reach the footer of some website the other day to get to info like "about", "contact us", or whatever, and it was absolutely impossible.

      • The worst is when they don't properly virtualize the scroll bar, so it's impossible to get back to the top without loading all the pages again as you page back through them. Lookin at you, Thingiverse.
        • For what it's worth, if you have a Thingiverse account you can turn infinite scrolling off in the preferences. Unfortunately they only show 12 entries per page so it takes forever to go through them all, but at least there's no infinite scroll involved.

      • The never-ending single page is the worst trend in webdesign today, or perhaps ever. I was trying to reach the footer of some website the other day to get to info like "about", "contact us", or whatever, and it was absolutely impossible.

        I'm guessing the "End" key on your keyboard was broken?

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          That just triggers the infinite page refresh to continue on, dragging the link (f it exists) back to the bottom, where you can't click on it.

          Whomever figured out one could do that (or whomever implemented the capabilities to do so) should be shot.

          • Still better than /. beta was, but 'shootin''s too good for them...'

            Confession...i once showed a dev how to 'automate' and 'reuse' his Access application from VB classic. 'new Access.Application'....I'll go to hell for it, I deserve it. My cats will eat my liver, every day.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2017 @04:12PM (#54968891) Journal
    80% of the energy in the gasoline, goes out as heat in the tail pipe. Diesel engines use compression ignition (no spark plugs) already. The much "coveted" technology, if it works, would bring diesel engine efficiency to gasoline engines. That is all. The claimed benefit is reduction in pollution, not any improvement in efficiency over existing IC engines.

    Now that we know how difficult it is to cut the emissions on diesel engines during start up and some driving conditions, it is probably a good thing. But it is not going to slow the long march towards hybrid and electric cars. It is more along the lines of streamlining steam locomotives.

    • by Strider- ( 39683 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2017 @04:31PM (#54969069)

      The issue is that the NOx pollution from the Diesels is due to its thermal efficiency. In a properly running diesel, the flame in the cylinder is so hot that it causes the N2 from the atmosphere to momentarily disassociate, which in turn combines with the left over oxygen, producing oxides of nitrogen. By definition, diesels run extremely lean, so there's plenty of oxygen for this to happen, and 80% of the charge is nitrogen. Anyhow, the net result is that diesels tend to produce the most NOx at the most efficient point, which is right around their torque curve.

      Gasoline engines, on the other hand, ideally operate at the stochiometric ratio; the oxygen in the charge air is completely consumed by the combustion. It sounds like Mazda has achieved diesel-like efficiency while maintaining the gasoline ratios, meaning that there is no left over oxygen to produce NOx. It'll be interesting to see if it works out and is reliable.

      • by fnj ( 64210 )

        ALL internal combustion engines produce NOx, sparky. Diesel exhaust is just more difficult and expensive to aftertreat to remove the last vestiges.

      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 08, 2017 @06:32PM (#54970089) Homepage Journal

        Gasoline engines don't run ideally. They run rich-lean-rich-lean. Then the catalyst averages it out, more or less.

    • The much "coveted" technology, if it works, would bring diesel engine efficiency to gasoline engines. That is all.

      Mazda's presentation also had an example output curve for their SkyActiv-X engine, apparently it also produces diesel-like torque as well. It also does quite well with low-octane gasoline, as octane rating is irrelevant to a compression-ignition engine.

  • by FeelGood314 ( 2516288 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2017 @04:19PM (#54968943)
    Electric cars are just more convenient. Once their range is close enough to gas no one will want to buy a new fossil fuel car. A few years after that gas stations will start disappearing. Once the stations and infrastructure start to die out the end of gasoline cars will be fairly quick. The one area where the internal combustion engine has a huge advantage is winter driving. Heating a car with an electric battery kills your distance and there aren't many good solutions. Insulation only gets you so far because you also have to dry the air in the car out or else the moisture will condense on the windows (try driving a car on a -20C morning with 3 kids in the back)
    • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2017 @05:24PM (#54969533)

      This is wishful thinking. It may be true in very dense urban centers, but it is less and less likely to be true anytime soon out in suburbia, and even less likely in rural areas where farms operate and grow food that everyone in the urban centers is dependent on.

      Personally I'd love to see a day when I can have a fully-electric, battery-operated tractor, combine, or semi truck that can operate at high power output ranges for 12 hours or more at a stretch (and recharge very quickly). But realistically I don't expect to see this in my lifetime.

      • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

        Tesla is working on a semi truck right now. It is going to be announced before the end of the year.

        https://electrek.co/2017/05/25... [electrek.co]

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        This is wishful thinking. It may be true in very dense urban centers, but it is less and less likely to be true anytime soon out in suburbia, and even less likely in rural areas where farms operate and grow food that everyone in the urban centers is dependent on.

        This,

        Its just people who have no knowledge of the engineering jumping on the Tesla hype bandwagon.

        The problem Tesla has is that it's using the same battery technology as a laptop and as anyone who has half a brain and uses a laptop on battery regularly will have noticed is that battery power degrades with each charge cycle. It's not noticable over a few... but try doing 300. Batteries are consumable, up until now when the battery pack in your Prius goes, you've still got the gasoline engine to cover y

      • Commercial vehicles like trucks and tractors don't need to operate for 12 hours at a stretch. Even the current EU laws don't allow humans to drive them continuously for that long without a break, and they will be some of the first vehicles to get fully antonymous driving (and charging) anyway.

        300 miles range at 70 MPH is already available and already more than enough for human beings. If you are driving for more than 4 hours straight without a break, you are not driving safely.

    • Once their range is close enough to gas no one will want to buy a new fossil fuel car.

      Well, that all depends.

      Right now, I get a bit over 300 miles with my car. Very expensive electric cars can come pretty close.

      So, in a couple of years, my choice is between a $35,000 electric car that gets 300 miles on a charge or a $35,000 Mazda which gets 50 MPG and, therefore, gets over 500 miles on a tank of gasoline.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo&world3,net> on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @02:39AM (#54972333) Homepage Journal

      AC is better for keeping windows mist free than heat. My Leaf has a heat pump and AC system, so I normally blast both for maybe 20 seconds to fully de-mist the car when setting off (often automatically on a timer while it's still plugged in, so doesn't even touch the battery) and then just keep heat and AC on the minimum setting to maintain.

      It ends up reducing range by 5-10%, depending on conditions and driving style.

  • Only a RX7 fan would go this route.

    Mazda new wankel engine patent (Mar 16)
    http://pdfaiw.uspto.gov/.aiw?P... [uspto.gov]

    Story on patent
    http://blog.caranddriver.com/n... [caranddriver.com]

    Animation of Wankel engine
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • I get to have a jake brake on my car?!?!
    Maybe I just don't understand engines well enough :(

  • 1, Wankel Rotary
    2. Miller cycle
    3. Compression

  • Imagine a single drive train hybrid using this tech as the charging engine, running only at its most efficient speed. This could be the low-cost transition to electric that the industry has been waiting for.

I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.

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