Mazda Says Skyactiv-X Engine Will Have Lower Well-to-Wheel Emissions than EVs

Next year, Japanese manufacturer Mazda will introduce a new generation of its Skyactiv engines. With them, promise the Japanese, will come a revolution regarding emissions during the life cycle of the cars to use them.
MAzda testing the Skyactiv-X engine 5 photos
Photo: Mazda
Mazda Skyactiv-XMazda Skyactiv-XMazda Skyactiv-XMazda Skyactiv-X
To be officially called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) Skyactiv-X, the new engine will have, according to the manufacturer’s estimates, well-to-wheel emissions lower than that of the existing electric vehicles.

In this context, lower well-to-wheel emissions mean that the new engine will produce, for instance, less CO2 burning fossil fuel than the CO2 produced by turning coal or petroleum into electricity for EVs.

According to Mazda, a mid-sized electric car consumes around 20 kilowatt-hours of electricity per 100 km. CO2 emissions produced by generating this amount of power amounts to 200g/km by burning coal and 156g/km by burning petroleum.

Mazda claims that a 10 percent improvement in the existing Skyactiv-G engines would make combustion units be on a par with electric cars.

From one point of view, Mazda’s claims do seem something of a smokescreen. The entire theory pretty much comes down to the assumption that the advent of EVs would also mean the rise in production for electricity to manufacture and charge them.

And that’s a debate that has been raging ever since the introduction of the Nissan Leaf back in 2010. For Mazda, the current approach in determining EV emissions is wrong, so it changed the rules by and for itself.

“With two-thirds of global electricity production currently relying on the use of fossil fuels, Mazda believes regulations placing the absolute emissions of an EV (electric vehicle) at zero to be disingenuous,” argues the carmaker.

“In order to more correctly measure CO2 emissions over the life cycle of a vehicle, Mazda is moving beyond current 'Tank-to-Wheel' evaluations (which consider only emissions whilst driving), to a 'Well-to-Wheel' method, which also considers fuel extraction, manufacturing, and shipping.”

In an attempt to water down the feeling that it sides with big oil, the carmaker states that, despite the revolutionary Skyactiv-X, it will offer some electric vehicles and hybrids of its own. In 2019, the carmaker says it will introduce an electric vehicle model, followed by a plug-in hybrid in 2025.

What is worth mentioning about the new engine is that it will be one of the few gasoline units available in the world (Mazda calls it, wrongfully, the world’s first) to use compression ignition.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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