Mazda Motor Corp said it would become the world’s first automaker to commercialize a much more efficient petrol engine using technology that deep-pocketed rivals have been trying to engineer for decades, a twist in an industry increasingly going electric.

The new compression ignition engine, called SKYACTIV-X, is 20 percent to 30 percent more fuel efficient than the Japanese automaker’s current engines and uses a technology that has eluded the likes of Daimler AG and General Motors Co.

“It’s a major breakthrough,” said Ryoji Miyashita, chairman of automotive engineering company AEMSS Inc. “We think it is an imperative and fundamental job for us to pursue the ideal internal combustion engine,” A homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine ignites petrol through compression, eliminating spark plugs.

Its fuel economy potentially matches that of a diesel engine without high emissions of nitrogen oxides or sooty particulates.

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