Mitsuo Hitomi’s passion and enthusiasm for the inner workings of the internal combustion engine are deeply ingrained. After all, the Mazda powertrain boss has devoted almost his entire working life, 35 years, to advancing petrol- and diesel-engine development.
Hitomi’s also the guy responsible for the next generation of Mazda engines, which will see a world first: the application of Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) to a petrol engine in a passenger car. HCCI versions of the existing SKYACTIV-G petrol engine’s compression ratio rise from an already world-record high of 14:1 to a stratospheric 18:1. The new state-of-the-art engine’s extreme compression ratio means the fuel ignites by itself without needing a spark. This allows a far more complete combustion, with the knock-on effect of far greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
HCCI is a technology that others have tried and failed to perfect, but Mazda is determined, as it was with the rotary engine, to succeed in applying it to a passenger car.
Hitomi says: “When you consider the rapid growth of the number of cars in emerging countries where hybrid and EVs are not popular, that annual global sales are predicted to exceed 150 million in 2030, and that 90 percent of those will still be powered by an internal combustion engine, I feel it is my duty, for the benefit of the environment, to improve the efficiency of that engine and buy mankind some time until the clean energy source of the future is discovered.”
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