At the Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda is showcasing the recently-released Mazda Axela (known as Mazda3 overseas) with a variety of engine types at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, including a CNG concept and hybrid variants. (Earlier post.)
The Axela accounts for more than 30% of global sales; the latest Axela is the third generation. The new Axela range also introduces a hybrid vehicle, and marks the first time for a single model launched on the Japanese market to include gasoline, diesel, and hybrid power plants in its powertrain lineup.
In terms of its overall approach to environmental performance, Mazda is pursuing CO2 reduction by globally deploying its SKYACTIV technology that re-engineers all of the vehicle’s base technologies from scratch. Mazda is reducing vehicle weight, as well as gradually introducing electric devices including battery management (idling stop), brake energy regeneration, and motor drive technologies.
In addition to the challenges posed by CO2 reduction, Mazda believes that a “multi-solution” approach supporting energy diversity is another key factor in realizing a sustainable future.
Alternative fuels: CNG and E85. Using SKYACTIV-G as a base, Mazda is pursuing the practical use of both a CNG engine and a bioethanol engine that supports E85, the 85% ethanol blend. In this way, in addition to gasoline, diesel or electricity (hybrids), Mazda is providing a “multi-solution” that allows customers to choose a power unit and energy source appropriate to where they live. Mazda says that its ultimate goal is to preserve driving pleasure unchanged, no matter what fuel is used, as well as excellent environmental performance.
The Mazda3 SKYACTIV-CNG Concept unveiled at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show has dedicated features including a gasoline/CNG dual fuel engine based on the SKYACTIV-G 2.0 and a CNG tank.
|Major technologies on Mazda3 SKYACTIV-CNG concept. Click to enlarge.|
SKYACTIV-HYBRID, the Mazda hybrid system. Mazda introduced its hybrid system, SKYACTIV-HYBRID, to the Japanese-specification production model. The SKYACTIV-HYBRID-dedicated 2.0-liter gasoline engine adopts cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) that recirculates a portion of exhaust gas to the intake side, helping to realize a 14.0:1 compression ratio.
|Mazda hybrid system. Click to enlarge.|
Recovering thermal energy from exhaust gas shortens engine warm-up time, increasing the opportunities for engine stopping, and thereby improving fuel economy.
The transaxle splits motive power from the engine into drive power and power to the generator, and transfers a combination of motor power and engine power to the drive wheels.
The power control unit steps up/steps down power from the high-voltage battery and supplies it to the motor, the auxiliary equipment, and the auxiliary battery. In addition, it manages electrical power to optimize supply to the motor and high-voltage battery. Furthermore, the unit performs generator control to adjust engine load.
A high-voltage nickel-metal hydride battery is adopted that is specifically developed for automotive use, having a simple structure and superior stability. Current, voltage, temperature and other measures are computer monitored and controlled to constantly maintain optimum status, helping enhance durability.
In addition, the engine incorporates control systems that enable more efficient combustion of fuel over a wider range of driving. The engine adopts a 4-1 exhaust system.
i-ACTIVSENSE and Connect. The new Axela is equipped with the full suite of i-ACTIVSENSE, Mazda’s advanced safety technologies. In addition, the new Axela marks the debut of Mazda Connect, a car connectivity system.
ACTIVSENSE technologies include:
Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW). The system detects a vehicle travelling ahead and helps the driver avoid collisions by sounding an alarm when there is a risk of collision.
Rear Vehicle Monitoring (RVM). The system detects vehicles approaching on either side from the rear and alerts the driver to potential risks when changing lanes.
Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS). The system controls the direction of headlights according to vehicle speed and steering inputs, enabling the driver to see further around curves at night.
High-Beam Control System (HBC). The system detects oncoming vehicles or vehicles ahead and automatically switches the headlights between high and low beams for safer nighttime driving.
Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS). The system detects lane markings on the road surface and warns the driver of imminent unintentional lane departures.
Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC). The system judges the relative speed and distance to the car ahead, and works within a set speed range to maintain a safe following distance, thus alleviating some of the burden on the driver when driving on highways.
Smart City Brake Support (SCBS). If the system detects a risk of collision with a vehicle travelling ahead at speeds between approximately 4‒30km/h, it automatically applies the brakes and reduces engine output with the aim of avoiding the collision or reducing the severity of impact.
Acceleration Control for Automatic Transmission (Japanese-specification models only). The system comes into effect if the driver presses the accelerator pedal more than a prescribed amount when an obstacle is detected in front. It suppresses sudden acceleration by curbing engine output while alerting the driver with an alarm and a warning light on the meter display.
Smart Brake Support (SBS). This helps the driver avoid or reduce the severity of collisions, particularly when driving at speeds above 15km/h, by automatically applying the brakes if there is a danger of collision.