Mazda: 30% fuel reduction by 2015

Electronic, hybrid, hydrogen systems and bio-fuel technologies, here is the Japanese recipe to fight pollution

It was 1991 when the Japanese automaker outlined a long-term pathway whose purpose was to develop hydrogen-powered vehicles. Over the past few years the situation has evolved to such an extent that more and more advanced prototypes have been designed and all the sectors of sustainable mobility have been tried out.

But Mazda has not confined all its efforts to the research but, indeed, has achieved remarkable energy efficiency targets for all its range of vehicles: from 2001 and 2008 the Japanese company has managed to improve fuel consumption by 30%, but it has a far more ambitious goal: a further average reduction by 30% on the world market by 2015. So the company’s strategies are concentrated on the improvement of energy efficiency: 2011 will be the deadline to lower the vehicles’ weight by, at least, 100 kilograms while the Smart Idle Stop System should be mass produced by 2009.

This system pumps the fuel straight into the cylinder, enables the engine to start up again rapidly and silently, but it is mainly fuel-saving (7-8%). At the beginning only Japanese and European cars will be equipped with this system, which will, then, be extended worldwide.

Diesel engines will, instead, be updated as from 2011 in order to meet the strict legislation concerning gas emissions. They will have next-generation direct injection and turbo-charging systems as well as technologies capable of reducing nitrogen oxides, thus saving fuel by 20%. As from 2010 the rotary diesel engine, the company’s cutting edge, will undergo some tweaks which will enhance its performance and reduce fuel consumption mainly thanks to direct injection and high speed combustion.

Meanwhile testing on hydrogen vehicles has been going on successfully and just this month the Japanese government has allowed the company to start testing the Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid on public roads. It is a 40% more powerful car, whose range reaches 200 km.

Mazda will lease it on the Japanese market during fiscal year 2008. Also bio-ethanol will play an important role in the strategy to revamp the Mazda fleet: in 2009 a flex-fuel E85 compatible engine will be introduced in the USA and EU markets. Just at the beginning of 2015 Mazda will have most of its automotive technologies redesigned, thus offering the market safe, eco-friendly and fun-to-drive cars.

As other car companies, Mazda will do its best to reduce CO2 emissions not only on its vehicles but also in their production. In 2007 the total of CO2 emissions derived from production was reduced by 15.4%, if compared to the 1990 level. In 2005 Mazda was the first to introduce a cold painting three-layer system which reduces VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions by 45% and CO2 emissions by 15%. If this system was to be improved, it would take VOC emissions to 57% and CO2 emissions to 25%. Mazda is also making progress in the sector of carbon-free bio-plastics, which are used on the Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid, and, in view of a target which envisages their use as from 2013, the company has just started a project to get bio-plastics out of cellusosic non-food bio-masses.

Autore: GIUSEPPE GANDOLFI

 

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