Mazda R&D boss says emissions regulations make electrification inevitable but pledges to keep developing petrol and diesel technology
Mark Tisshaw
21 November 2016

Mazda will launch its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in around five years' time.

Until now Mazda has been a staunch advocate of continuing to develop regular internal combustion engine technology and give its cars the 'right-sized' engines, which are often larger in capacity than rival units with downsized turbochargers but which return better real-world fuel economy.

To that end, it has not pushed ahead with development of plug-in technology, but Mazda R&D chief Kiyoshi Fujiwara has confirmed the firm will launch a plug-in hybrid "in or after 2021".

The reason, he said, was "severe, severe, tougher CO2 regulations".

He also confirmed mild hybrid Mazdas with 48V sub systems were also in development to further improve fuel economy.

All-electric Mazdas should also arrive, according to Fujiwara, but the development of these was trickier due to the complex power control electronic management systems needed. "We don't want to be a Galaxy Note 7," joked Fujiwara, in reference to the problems Samsung is having with the battery management of its now-discontinued smartphone that caused many to catch fire.

Development of petrol and diesel technology will still continue at Mazda, Fujiwara said, and there are still improvements to be made with both. The biggest improvements will come with the adoption of homogeneous compression in 2018/19, he added.

Lightweight technology is also in development at Mazda, including carbonfibre and carbonfibre-reinforced plastics, but cost could be prohibitive to them making an immediate introduction on their most obvious candidate, the MX-5.

The overall target for all these technologies will be a 50% improvement in fuel efficiency by 2020. That date has been earmarked for the introduction of its next generation of models and its Skyactiv 2 technology.

Our Verdict

Mazda CX-5

Can efficiency-boosting SkyActiv technology help the Mazda CX-5 raise the crossover bar?

Join the debate

Comments
1

28 November 2016
I am a fan of Mazda but I think they are missing the point. I think the public perception is that electricity across all sectors is the energy of the future. People want the future now and expect this to be delivered from renewable sources at low costs.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again
  • Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
    First Drive
    13 October 2017
    Off-road estate is now bigger, more spacious and available with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, but is it enough to make its German rivals anxious?