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Mazda3 Gets Compressed Natural Gas Concept

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On: Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 5:35PM | By: Chris Weiss

Mazda3 Gets Compressed Natural Gas Concept

At the upcoming 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda will showcase the flexibility of the new Mazda3, highlighting its multiple powertrain options. Headlining this display will be a compressed natural gas concept called the SKYACTIV-CNG Concept. Will the Mazda3 be the next vehicle to get a compressed natural gas option?

The Mazda3 is an integral member of Mazda's line-up, making up 30 percent of the automaker's global sales. Mazda describes the latest version as "multi-solution," an adjective that refers to the multiple available powertrain options. The model is available with SKYACTIV gasoline, hybrid (in Japan), and diesel power, providing buyers with the flexibility to choose the fuel that best meets their needs.

With the SKYACTIV-CNG, Mazda shows yet another potential fuel option. The highlight is its compressed natural gas compatibility, but the concept is actually designed to run on either CNG or traditional gasoline.

"Based on an increasing demand for CNG-powered vehicles, theSKYACTIV-CNG Concept adopts a dual fuel system that runs on both gasoline and CNG," explains Mazda. "Since CNG engines burn fuel at high pressure and the SKYACTIV-G gasoline engine already achieves a high compression ratio it can easily be modified for CNG with only minor modifications."

Mazda hasn't yet provided the Mazda3 SKYACTIV-CNG's specs, but in general when compared to gasoline, compressed natural gas is prized for its lower emissions, lower pump price, and domestic production. Mazda says that the technology reduces emissions by 20 percent when compared with same-size gas engines.

It's not 100 percent clear if the SKYACTIV-CNG Concept previews a future production model, but if we had to guess, we'd say it does. CNG isn't quite as headline-making as hybrid or electric powertrains, so equipping the technology to a standard production model doesn't seem like a move aimed at developing buzz and drawing booth visitors. Other manufacturers, such as Chevy, have been adding CNG options lately, so it seems plausible that Mazda will do the same. It teases this very possibility by stating that its Tokyo displays "hint at the direction of future models."

In addition to the Mazda3 powertrain display, Mazda will show a variety of other vehicles, including the Atenza (Mazda6) Advanced Safety Vehicle (ASV-5). The ASV-5 isequipped with the latest automated technologies, including a car-to-car communications designed to prevent accidents and cut down on traffic congestion.

The Tokyo Motor Show opens to the press on November 20.


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