Intent on offering the right tech at the right time, Mazda’s new Skyactive-X engine promises to be a match for current EVs

Mazda has backed up its development of its new Skyactive-X  internal combustion engine with a set of figures that the company says underline the current problem with pure electric vehicles.

Mazda has based these findings on what it calls a ‘well-to-wheel’ emissions evaluation, taking into account the entire life-cycle journey of the corresponding electricity from its point of production right through to its consumption within the car.

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Using a mid-sized electric vehicle as a base, the average energy consumption is rated at approximately 200kWh per 100 kilometres. Using this as a guide, electricity produced from a coal-fired power plant will equate to an emissions rating of around 200g/km for a pure EV charged from the mains – significantly higher than most new petrol- or diesel-powered mid-sized family cars. When averaged out between other major electricity sources, including petroleum and liquified petroleum gas, this figure does shrink to 128g/km, but this is still only 14g/km below Mazda’s Skyactive-X engine, which will go into production next year.

The market will continue to trend away from the internal combustion engine, but Mazda’s ‘right solution at the right time’ mentality will ensure that its latest generation of petrol engines will be as competitive as possible until the infrastructure required to power an electric car future has matured.

Rather than acting as a preventer of Mazda’s development in electric vehicle tech, this is instead an intended wake-up call to consumers about the realities of battery electric vehicles within the current infrastructure. Mazda’s development of a battery electric vehicle due for release next year, and the brand’s first mild-hybrid the year after, will continue as scheduled.

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As the generation of electricity continues to diversify from non-renewable sources, the real emissions generated by an electric-car-friendly infrastructure will drop. For the moment though, Mazda’s intention to keep its finger in the internal combustion pie is an encouraging sign that it has not fallen into the trap some manufacturers might in creating an EV-heavy product line-up before the market, or indeed infrastructure, is there to handle it.