Mazda is accelerating a push into electrified vehicles – Drive Safe and Fast

Automotive

Published on November 9th, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Mazda is accelerating a push into electrified vehicles

Mazda is planning a slew of introductions by 2021 to help avoid European Union fines for failing to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Before that year ends, Mazda will have to pay penalties because of its high proportion of SUV sales, CEO Akira Marumoto told reporters in Tokyo this week. Mazda, which got about a 5th of its sales from Europe last year, will be spared from further fines once its starts selling EVs, plug-in hybrids and mild hybrids, he added.

Among the Japanese car manufacturers, Mazda is being hardest hit by the regulations with its average CO2 emissions exceeding the EUs targets last year. Avoiding further penalties in Europe is important for the Japanese company as it tries to reverse an earnings decline caused by weak global car demand and the floods in Japan this year that disrupted production at its domestic plants.

Mazda is behind the rest in expanding into electric vehicles and a push in Europe helps the company gain a foothold in the burgeoning market. Mazda and rivals are on the hook for total fines in excess of USD16 billion, should they fail to comply with tighter emissions regulation phased in from 2020 and in full force the following year. Mazda says it set aside USD88 million already this year for the EU fines.

Mazda said it will launch a refreshed, more fuel-efficient version of its Mazda 3 compact car, the first model built on its next-generation Skyactiv platform, at the Los Angeles auto show that starts this Nov. 30. Mazda CEO Akira Marumoto said the strategy is to mate the Skyactiv-X engine to a mild-hybrid system. Marshaling the electric motor’s power-assist ability will ensure linear acceleration and spirited driving, Marumoto said.

It also will deliver a fuel economy improvement of more than 30% over a standard petrol engine of the same displacement. The Mazda3 will be offered with the mild hybrid 2.0-liter Skyactiv-X engine or a current-generation 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G petrol powerplant, Marumoto said. Mild hybrids are a key component of Mazda’s plan to electrify every vehicle in its lineup by 2030. Electric vehicles and range-extender electrics will make up about 5% of the portfolio by then. Mild and plug-in hybrids will occupy the remaining 95%.

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