Matt Robinson 8 months ago 72

Future Mazda Petrol Engines Won't Have Spark Plugs

Mazda is reportedly working on an 'HCCI' engine for the next 3 hatchback, which will use compression for ignition rather than spark plugs

Remind me later

It’s pretty clear Mazda likes to do things its own way with engines. Its history is littered with unconventional rotary-powered cars, and while almost all of the motoring world - for better or worse - switches to downsized turbo engines, Mazda’s petrol engines are still of the naturally-aspirated variety.

The latest sign of the company forging its own path is arguably the most intriguing however, as Mazda is reportedly working on a petrol engine that does without spark plugs.

According to a report in Nikkei - picked up this week by Autoblog and a few other outlets - Mazda will incorporate a new ‘homogeneous charge compression ignition’ engine into the next Mazda3 hatchback next year. So what the hell is HCCI?

Our friend Jason - aka Engineering Explained - provided the helpful video above a few months ago. But to break it down to its most simple level, HCCI uses compression rather than a spark for ignition, much like a diesel.

Crucially though, it’s more efficient than diesel engines and conventional petrols, leading to a potential 30 per cent drop in emissions for the next Mazda3.

HCCI engines are already a thing, but they’ve yet to make it into the world of production cars. Assuming Mazda and other manufacturers can get over a few hurdles (the high pressures involved make wear an issue, for instance), HCCI technology might well be the future of the internal combustion engine, providing a stepping stone of sorts before the inevitable rise of the electric car.