Mazda has today announced its long-term vision for technical development, which looks ahead to the year 2030. “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030,” as it is called, aims to use driving pleasure to help “solve issues facing people, the earth and society.” Lofty goals, certainly.

One of the most important components of the plan is the world’s first production petrol engine with compression ignition, in which ignition is achieved by compressing the fuel-air mixture using the piston, like a diesel engine. The long-awaited mill has now been given the name SkyActiv-X, and is said to combine the advantages of petrol and diesel engines to produce low emissions and increased performance.

Set to be introduced in 2019, the powertrain uses the company’s proprietary Spark Controlled Compression Ignition technology, which adds spark ignition to overcome the problems associated with homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI). Mazda says that it has worked to maximise the period of compression ignition, as well as to ensure a seamless transition between spark and compression ignition.

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The lean burn enabled through the use of compression ignition increases engine efficiency by between 20 and 30% over the current SkyActiv-G engine and between 35 and 40% over a Mazda petrol engine of a similar capacity from 2008. The technology is so effective, the company says, that the SkyActiv-X engine achieves fuel efficiency that equals or even exceeds the latest SkyActiv-D diesel engine.

The mill is also fitted with a supercharger and is claimed to offer improved response and between 10 to 30% more torque compared to the SkyActiv-G mill. As a result, the engine is said to be highly efficient across a wide range of engine speeds and loads, enabling a much larger spread in terms of gear ratio selection – this, Mazda says, provides superior fuel economy and driving performance.

Apart from providing initial details of its newfangled engine, the company has also sought to redefine its conservation initiatives. For a start, Mazda will begin introducing electric vehicles and other electric drive technologies from 2019 in areas with a high clean energy ratio, and restrict the sale of certain vehicles to reduce air pollution.

Despite the move towards electric power, however, Mazda has promised to continue perfecting the internal combustion engine, which it says will remain the main source of power for vehicles worldwide for years to come and hence has the biggest potential of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. This will go hand in hand with the company’s aforementioned electrification efforts.

Mazda is also expanding its measures in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from a simple “well-to-wheel” approach – from now on, it will consider emissions throughout the vehicle’s entire lifecycle. It also aims to reduce its corporate average “well-to-wheel” carbon dioxide emissions by 50% compared to 2010 levels by 2030, and by 90% by 2050 – and it will achieve this while following a policy that prioritises real-world efficiency improvements and emissions reductions.

In terms of safety, Mazda will move towards making its i-ActivSense suite of driver assists a standard feature on all of the cars its sells. It’s already done so in Japan, and the company will gradually offer it across its lineup in other markets starting next year.

The company will also continue to improve the driving position, pedal layout and outward visibility on its cars, which it says are fundamental to vehicle safety. In addition, it will develop more advanced safety technologies under Mazda Proactive Safety, as it works towards its goal of eliminating traffic accidents.

Mazda will also begin testing self-driving technologies and develop them for introduction in 2020 as part of the human-centred Mazda Co-Pilot Concept, with the aim of making the system a standard feature on all models by 2025. It also intends to create a new business model that will use connectivity to enable car owners to “support the needs of people in depopulated areas” as well as those with mobility issues.

Lastly, Mazda will pursue a greater emotional bond between its cars and the people who use them, by enhancing the Jinba Ittai driving feel and further developing its Kodo design language – the latter will “raise vehicle design to the level of art that enriches the emotional lives of all who see it.”