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BY Owen Bergwall, Green Car & Technology Contributor
I’m a fan of fun, efficient and stylish automotive packaging. I get excited when a new automotive technology increases power, overall performance, reduces emissions – and does it all in a smart, simple and cost-effective manner. Mean, green driving enjoyment for all is a terrific mantra, but affordability remains key to getting people to buy-in, and well, buy at all.
There are plenty of green cars and advanced technologies to see at the 2013 Washington Auto Show, which runs through Sunday, February 10. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to get there right away to sit in as many cars as possible.
At a press conference held during the Auto Show’s public policy day, Ron Cogan, Editor and Publisher of Green Car Journal and website Cars of Change, handed his inaugural 2013 Green Car Technology Award to Mazda for its innovative SKYactiv suite of technologies.
Before you start asking which Mazda gets 60 MPG, note that this award focuses on more than just pure engine efficiency. Cogan’s magazine looks at every way a technology can positively impact vehicles, customer experiences, the accessibility of green technology, and the automotive industry as a whole.
Optimizing the entire vehicle, from engine and transmission to chassis, body structure, and all the components large and small that make up a modern vehicle is truly paramount. This holistic philosophy epitomizes the ideal in delivering the enabling technologies so important to creating the efficient, fun-to-drive models required for a more environmentally compatible driving future.
-Ron Cogan, Editor and Publisher, Green Car Journal
I couldn’t agree more. Cars don’t have to be expensive, slow or boring to be efficient. They can also be fun to drive, affordable and brilliant to look at. Mazda SkyACTIV exemplifies a seamless way to increase the environmental and driving performance of a large number of cars – quickly and affordably. Nice move, Mazda.
Most exciting of all, at least for me, is Mazda’s new-for-2014 Mazda6 that comes packed with SkyACTIV-G (‘g’ for gasoline) or SkyACTIV-D (‘d’ for diesel) powerplants available with both manual and automatic transmissions. That’s right, a manual.
I hope Mazda’s diesel offering, along with the upcoming Chevy Cruze diesel, will help reduce Americans’ senseless distaste for diesel technology. Thanks to the paths forged by Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes and others, we already know that diesels can be “good, clean fun.” Mazda has also announced that they will be running SkyACTIV-D in the 2013 Gran Am GX racing class.
Other 2013 Green Car Technology Award finalists on display at the Washington Auto Show included Fiat MultiAir; the Fisker EVer powertrain; Ford’s Stop-Start, Energi and EcoBoost technologies; Honda Eco Assist; the Tesla powertrain; Toyota’s RAV4 EV powertrain; and Nissan’s Easy-Fill Tire alert system.