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As Autocar UK understands, Mazda will be targeting to increase the efficiency of its SkyActiv-G petrol engines by 50% in the near future. Mazda’s European R&D chief, Kenichiro Saruwatari, has commented that while the current range of petrol SkyActiv-G mills are rated at a 40% efficiency level, plans are already in motion to reach 60% in the next five years.

One of the key methods that the Japanese carmaker will employ to achieve its target will be to develop its homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) technology with the mixture ignited by compression instead of a spark – much like a diesel engine. Mazda hopes that such a move will result in an engine with cleaner emissions of a petrol mill and the efficiency of a diesel.

Part of achieving said target will involve raising the compression ratio from the current 14.0:1 rating to 18.0:1 and acquiring precise control of the combustion cycle to avoid engine knocking. Also, the company is currently working to reduce heat lost via the exhaust system, which typically results in a 30% loss of fuel’s energy. “We’re looking at several solutions but can’t say which yet,” commented Saruwatari.

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2015 Mazda CX-3.

He also added that the next-generation Mazda CX-5 will be the recipient of the latest wave of technology from the SkyActiv umbrella. Saruwatari added that the company has embarked on its current efficiency path way back with the 2002 GG-generation Mazda 6. “The main direction of Skyactiv has not changed although we sometimes find new technologies and materials that produce a step change,” he said.

Additionally, a recently-announced partnership between Mazda and Toyota could see the emergence of a new plug-in hybrid model. However, Mazda is keen to point out that its conventional, petrol-engined models could challenged electric vehicles (EVs) for well-to-wheel efficiency.

With a second-generation SkyActiv engine, an unspecified “average” model would be able to put out a well-to-wheel CO2 emissions rating of about 80 g/km. The next-generation SkyActiv engines are reported to further improve on said figure by touting a 50 g/km rating although Mazda has yet to state a target date.

GALLERY: 2015 Mazda CX-3 Australian-spec