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Skyactiv Technology

Skyactiv technology is a term that has been coined by Mazda to refer to its program that seeks to minimize the weight of its vehicles. Mazda has for a long time not released hybrids and electric vehicles. Because of this, one might wonder how the auto manufacturer intends to deal with the challenge of fuel economy. This technology focuses on enhancing engine efficiency, changing the gear transmission systems, and re-working a vehicle's aerodynamics. As a result, you end up with a car that is light, experiences less air resistance and travels much faster on less fuel.

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Lightening a car is not an easy task, as many engineers will tell you. There are a number of obstacles you need to overcome. You have to meet safety standards, conform to regulations on carbon emissions, and meet the demand for comfort from consumers. All these factors contribute to a vehicle's weight. Through Skyactiv technology, Mazda intends to reduce the amount of steel and include the installation of lighter bolts. It has successfully done this in the CX-5 and its precursor, the CX-7. To achieve that goal, Mazda has stated that they will continue shedding 220 pounds from every redesigned model that it rolls out.

The Mazda 3, released in 2012, is a replica of what Skyactiv technology can do. This is Mazda's best-selling car worldwide. The engineers redesigned this car by adding a 2.0 liter engine and a 6 speed, gear transmission, which can be either manual or automatic. From this design, the vehicle achieves 155 horsepower. How about fuel economy, you say? By combining Skyactiv engines and gear transmissions, the 2012 Mazda3 has been able to achieve 40 miles per gallon on a highway. This is an improvement of 21% from the MZR model with the same specifications.

The thinking behind this technology can be equated to the human body. A slimmer person is agile, enabling him/her to run fast. Now put the same concept behind a vehicle by shedding excess weight and fine tuning the engine specifications. Gas prices constitute the greatest portion of the average auto consumers monthly costs. This is why as auto manufacturers release vehicles that run on less fuel, consumers respond by buying their cars. Who would not want to cover a longer distance on the same volume of gas as before?

Towards this end, Mazda engineers have it right. Initially, Mazda projected that by 2015, fuel efficiency in their vehicles would have improved by 30 percent. It is being implemented in phases. If you drive a recent Mazda vehicle model, you will notice a significant improvement in both the performance and fuel consumption. As has been the case with leading manufacturers like Toyota, Mazda does not have the kind of financial resources as it’s competitors.

To achieve the desired weight loss, the aerodynamics of past cars was looked at. The next task involved streamlining existing designs through removal of kinks and curves. Instead of utilizing huge pieces of machinery to connect upper and lower bodies, Mazda engineers opted for adhesive. While technology is shifting towards automatic transmissions, Mazda opted to refine the manual transmission. A few clever changes have been made, such as sharing the reverse and first gear inputs. In order for Skyactiv to work, the engineers did not spare the automatic engine either. The entire gearbox was re-jigged.

With this development, more people are now buying Mazda vehicles as a result of improvement in efficiency. The vehicles also provide for an enticingly smooth drive. This is expected to raise some concern from close competitors. Bottom line: If you are able to save a few dollars at the gas pump, then this technology should be rated as a major success story.

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