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Mazda's plans for a greener future

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June 24, 2008

Efficiency gains: Mazda's hydrogen hybrids

Efficiency gains: Mazda's hydrogen hybrids

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June 25, 2008 Mazda has announced a goal to cut the fuel consumption of its vehicles by an average of 30% by 2015. The company is exploring a combination of fuel-cutting initiatives, including the development of lighter-weight technologies aimed at reducing vehicle weight by 100 kilograms from 2011, carbon neutral bioplastics, an Idle Stop system and an advanced version of the emissions-reducing Three Layer Wet Paint System fist introduced in 2005. Integral to the plan is the renewal of its entire powertrain lineup by 2015, with tests of its hydrogen hybrid system continuing ahead of plans for release in Japan in the coming fiscal year, as well as plans for a new gasoline rotary engine and new diesel engines.

The bioplastic research is being developed in conjunction with Hiroshima University, with the aim of producing polypropylene from non-food-based cellulosic biomass. By using inedible vegetation, like plant waste and wood shavings, it is hoped the bioplastic will be carbon neutral, and avoid consuming food resources. The polypropylene must have sufficient strength, heat resistance and durability to be used in bumpers and instrument panels. Mazda currently uses bioplastics in its Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid – the new polypropylene is scheduled to make an appearance in its models in 2013.

The Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid was cleared to begin testing on Japanese public roads this June, and will be available for commercial lease in Japan in the coming fiscal year. The model offers 40% more power and an extended hydrogen driving range of 200 kilometers. Mazda is currently developing an all-new Hydrogen RE vehicle with the dynamic performance equivalent of a 3.0-liter gasoline engine and a hydrogen range of 400 kilometers.

In 2009, an E85 compatible flex-fuel engine will be introduced to the Northern European and North American powertrain line. From 2011, gasoline engines will include next generation Direct Injection Spark Ignition and other systems that increase power and fuel economy by up to 20%. Diesel engines manufactured in 2011 will meet the strictest exhaust gas regulations, and will feature next generation direct injection technology, turbocharging systems, and NOx reduction technology, which improve fuel economy by 20%. Future models of Mazda’s gasoline rotary engine will also incorporate Direct Injection Spark Ignition and high-speed combustion technology, with the first upgrades appearing after 2010.

The Three Layer Wet Paint System, introduced in 2005, succeeded in reducing VOC emissions by 45% and CO2 emissions by 15%. Mazda is launching an improved version in 2009, which will reduce VOC emissions by a further 57% without increasing CO2 emissions. The water-based paint technology produces 25% less CO2 emissions than standard water-based paint.

Mazda’s Smart Idle Stop System is the only system that restarts the engine from idle by injecting fuel into the cylinder and igniting it to force the piston down. The method offers an improvement of up to 8% in fuel economy, and is scheduled to be incorporated into cars from 2009.

In 2005, Mazda was the first auto manufacturer to introduce a Three Layer Wet Paint System which reduces VOC emissions by 45 percent and CO2 emissions by 15 percent. Mazda now plans to introduce a more advanced version of this unique Paint System in 2009 as it finalizes the development of an innovative water-based paint technology that reduces VOC emissions by a further 57 percent without increasing CO2 emissions. Producing around 25 percent fewer CO2 emissions than common water-based paint, this new technology is intended to make Mazda’s paint shops the cleanest in the world.

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