Many believe that the internal combustion engine is on its way out. Major car companies are heavily investing in all-electric solutions that will power the cars of the future but Mazda is not ready to give up on the internal combustion engine just yet. Mazda claims that its next-generation gas engine, the Skyactive-3, is going to be as clean as some electric cars.

Mazda powertrain chief Mitsuo Hitomi has revealed at a tech forum in Tokyo that the company’s goal with its next-generation gas engine is to increase the internal combustion engine’s thermal efficiency to around 56 percent. If it’s capable of doing that, it would make the Skyactive-3 the first engine of its kind to convert the majority of its fuel’s energy into power instead of wasting it due to heat loss and friction.

According to a report, Mazda’s 56 percent goal will post a 27 percent improvement in thermal efficiency of existing Mazda engines. It’s ambitious to say the least, and Mazda hasn’t revealed when its next-generation engine is going to enter production. The company hasn’t detailed how the engine is going to achieve such a high percentage of thermal efficiency.

Mazda claims that the engine will thus be cleaner to run than some all-electric vehicles. It basis this assertion on estimates of “well-to-wheel” emissions, which combines the pollution generated by both fossil fuel production and electricity generation to compare the emissions of electric cars and the Skyactiv-3.

The assertion holds true in markets where a significant chunk of the electricity is generated using fossil fuels but where its generated using renewable sources like wind, hydro, and solar it will be difficult to claim that the Skyactiv-3 will match EVs in that scenario as well.

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