If Mazda can increase the thermal efficiency of its third-generation Skyactiv engine by about 27 percent, to 56 percent, it can achieve emissions on a par with an EV, Hitomi said.
The numbers compare Mazda's future engine against the well-to-wheel emission of an EV. Mazda's measurement includes the carbon dioxide emitted from producing the electricity that powers the EV. For internal combustion engine vehicles, it calculates emissions from the extraction of oil and refining of gasoline.
Mazda's calculations assert that once all activity is measured, some EVs are dirtier than some fuel-efficient, gasoline-powered cars.
Mazda believes it can cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent. That would give Mazda's gasoline engines real world well-to-wheel fuel economy comparable to EVs deriving their electricity through the burning of liquefied natural gas, Hitomi said.
Hitomi did not offer a timeline for delivering the Skyactiv-3 technology, but he said it would give the internal combustion engine a much longer lease of life.