Although Mazda is continuing to pursue combustion engine advances, it isn’t shying away from electric. It will introduce a mild hybrid and a battery EV in 2019 - and, by 2035, every Mazda sold
will have some element of electrification. Progress in that area will be aided by a recent technical tie-up with Toyota.
Again, there is a difference: Mazda’s focus is on ‘well-to-wheel’ emissions, which accounts for how the energy that goes into a vehicle is created. In that context, an EV is only clean if the energy powering it comes from a clean source.
“We’re not denying electrification,” said Fujiwara. “By making CO2 savings on the combustion engine, we can reduce the burden on
the hybrid.” The exact level
of electrification in Mazda’s line-up will vary from country to country, taking into account power sources and legislation.
A petrol engine with reduced emissions and improved economy can require a smaller electric hybrid unit, removing some of the packaging challenges of the system.
Kudo said: “If the required motor and battery is small, we can provide customers with
a small, cheap and compact hybrid system with very good fuel consumption.”
Although Mazda’s future involves electrification, it is heavily invested in retaining petrol engines at the core of its powertrain line-up. Kudo said: “Many media want to discuss A or B, combustion engine or electric, a paradigm shift. But maybe history will prove such a change never happens. It’s a gradual change. We believe, as of today, the most important thing is to improve the internal combustion engine.”
Mazda’s tech timetable: what's coming when
First mild hybrid
New Skyactiv body platform
Kodo 2 styling
Skyactiv-D second-generation engines
Co-Pilot autonomous technology