Mazda has confirmed it’ll increase its electric vehicle (EV) development budget, revealed alongside a slinky sports car concept.
As part of its revised “mid-term management plan” Mazda now intends to invest ¥1.5 trillion ($16 billion) to develop electric vehicles as part of a three-phase strategy.
In the first phase (2022 until 2025) Mazda will develop a new dedicated EV architecture, while releasing hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles to reduce carbon emissions.
In an announcement made during the middle of 2021, Mazda said it would launch five series hybrid, as well as five plug-in hybrid, models between before 2025.
It had also planned to unveil three electric models or variants during the same time period. It’s unclear if these vehicles are still scheduled for launch.
The new rear- and all-wheel drive architecture underpinning the CX-60 and upcoming CX-70, CX-80, and CX-90 supports a new generation of inline six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, and plug-in/mild-hybrid systems.
As part of the second phase from 2025 to 2027, Mazda will “introduce EV-dedicated vehicles” in China “where electrification is advancing”, as well as “battery EV vehicles globally”.
Given the odd wording here, the China-focused models may use a different platform or be distinct in some other way from EVs sold elsewhere.
Mazda CEO Akira Marumoto said the firm is also considering expanding its EV production footprint to include the US to take advantage of the tax incentives on offer there.
In the third phase, from 2027 onwards, Mazda will “promote the full-fledged launch of battery EVs”. The automaker will also, at this point, consider bringing battery production in-house.
Key technologies, such as batteries, chips and motors, for Mazda’s expanded EV push will be developed in conjunction with joint-venture technical partners.
Despite the increase in development spend, Mazda didn’t provide any further details about the EV models it plans to launch, or the dedicated SkyActiv Scalable EV Architecture it is developing and which is set to debut in 2025.
It now expects 25 to 40 per cent of its global sales to be pure EVs by 2030. An earlier forecast estimated that electric cars would comprise just 25 per cent of the sales mix by the end of the decade.
The company didn’t provide EV sales estimates for different regions, describing the situation as “fluid” due to changing regulatory factors. The EU will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel passenger cars from 2035, while California is planning to permit only EV and PHEV sales from that date.
Mazda says it is aiming to be fully carbon neutral by 2050, with its factories becoming carbon neutral by 2035.
The Vision Study concept made its debut at the end of a video celebrating the four generations of the MX-5.
The slinky two-seat, two-door coupe could provide clues about the next MX-5, or some other MX-branded electric sports car.
It’s just as likely this car will turn out to be a design concept. Mazda has a track record of debuting pretty sports car concepts that are rumoured for production, but which get kiboshed for various reasons.