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Performance vs Emissions – Mazda Delays SkyActiv-D (Diesel)


Mazda SkyActiv-D "Not Quite Ready" for Emissions Regulations
Mazda SkyActiv-D “Not Quite Ready” for Emissions Regulations

As emissions regulations continue to tighten, automakers are finding it harder to meet them. Mazda SkyActiv-D, a groundbreaking new diesel-engine technology, still isn’t ready for it.

Now, it’s not as if the engine doesn’t work, but Mazda is balancing on a thin line, that most manufacturers haven’t approached successfully, between performance and emissions. Mazda vehicles are well-known for their higher-than-average fun-to-drive quotient, such as the Mazda RX or the Mazda3. Emissions, though, have been a problem, and it’s hard to make a car that is both fun and clean, which is why the RX’s Wankel rotary engine, which no number of catalytic converters could tackle, was eventually discontinued.

Mazda SkyActiv-D is a new diesel engine technology, which Mazda describes this way…

With the world’s lowest diesel-engine compression ration, this clean, highly-efficient diesel engine will comply with strict exhaust gas regulations globally without the aid of expensive NOx (nitrogen oxides) aftertreatment systems.

There’s one problem with this technology, that Mazda can’t seem to deliver both the performance Mazda owners expect, and the emissions levels that environmental regulations stipulate. An exhaust-treatment system could be installed to make this engine cleaner, but it would be expensive. Jeremy Barnes, head of Mazda Public Relations, says that the engine can deliver the performance drivers want, without the exhaust treatment system, they just need a little more time…

There are challenges with meeting the emissions standards without after-treatment systems. 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.

How soon we’ll Mazda SkyActiv-D is anyone’s guess, but we’re sure it’ll be as clean as they promise, as well as deliver the performance we’ve come to expect from the brand. Soon.

Image © Mazda

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