Mazda Conducting Trials In Japan To Determine If Electric Or Hybrid Will Be Adopted Across Entire Vehicle Lineup

1 year ago by Mark Kane 37

Mazda Demio EV

Mazda Demio EV

Mazda Koeru

Mazda Koeru

Mazda stands at the crossroads on alternative drivetrains.

To date, the Japanese company has mainly focused on improving fuel economy of its engines, but now it’s considering going either hybrid or electric.

In 2012, Mazda launched its Demio EV (Mazda 2) test fleet with 20 kWh battery and 75 kW electric motor (see details). Separately, the automaker is also assessing customer reaction to trials of its Mazda 3 hybrid.

The path that proves to be more attractive will be adopted across the automaker’s entire line-up, so every Mazda model could be available in hybrid or all-electric version, depending on the route Mazda chooses.

We must also remember that Mazda has a technological partnership with Toyota.

The other thing for Mazda to decide is on the Koeru concept SUV, unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. We wouldn’t be offended to see this model in plug-in hybrid version as the first Mazda plug-in, if the automaker chooses to green light it.

Mazda President Masamichi Kogai said:

“we would like to see it in production, but we need to monitor customers voices and see if it can deliver sustainable sales volumes before making the final judgement. The Koeru Concept is a totally new proposition of SUVs, but everyone seemed to rave about the car at the show, and I am encouraged to hear that.”

Here are some Mazda Demio EV presentations:

Source: Auto Express via Green Car Reports

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37 responses to "Mazda Conducting Trials In Japan To Determine If Electric Or Hybrid Will Be Adopted Across Entire Vehicle Lineup"

  1. Joe says:

    I’ll take a Demio with a rotary range extender pls.

    (No, they actually made it with a rotary RE)

  2. Djoni says:

    And that Demio have CHADEMO for.
    True that Mazda make car with very good handling.
    That would be a plus, and leave Toyota alone.

  3. Bill says:

    Build EVs!!

    1. RexxSee says:

      +1
      E-LEC-TRICS!
      E-LEC-TRICS!
      E LEC TRICS!

  4. krona2k says:

    I don’t think they should choose one or the other. Some models should be available in EV and some plug-in hybrid. The two approaches serve different requirements.

    1. Scramjett says:

      +1

      I’d like to see a CX-5 PHEV or maybe the Koeru concept could be their next CX-9 with a PHEV power-train.

      Also, I think you can go PHEV and full EV with the Mazda 3, 5, 6, and MX-5. They should also bring the RX back as a PHEV or BEV.

    2. Nix says:

      I agree that it would be nice for them to have both EV’s and PHEV’s.

      But they are a small car company, and they can’t afford to do that all the way up and down their entire line of cars.

      On the other hand, if they can be the first car company to offer either an EV or PHEV offering in car categories that so far haven’t been electrified, that would be a major win for plug-in cars in general.

      Frankly, having them put out the entire line of vehicles with plugs is so huge, that I can’t bring myself to ask them for more. If they have to choose either EV or PHEV in order to make that work, I’m cool with whatever choice they make.

      With that said, it will be PHEV. Half their vehicles are either too big or too small to work effectively as pure EV’s as gas car conversions within their traditional price ranges for their vehicles.

  5. SJC says:

    FFV hybrids.

  6. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Much as I would like to think Mazda is going to go “all in” for BEVs, it seems almost certain that they won’t do so all at once. If they are gonna convert all their car models to either BEVs or PHEVs, and not a mixture of the two, then it’s gonna be all PHEVs.

    1. ffbj says:

      I have to agree. Their association with Toyota, who have adamantly said that evs are not the future, indicates to me that there is little likelihood that they would go that route.

  7. PVH says:

    With present technology BEV’s are for the 1% EV enthousiast or the rich. So while waiting for batteries with double energy density, PHEV’s is the way to go IMHO.

    1. Robb Stark says:

      Current Technology with Mazda committing to make 1/3 of its production BEV would yield an economies of scale with prices good enough for 33%ers.

    2. Nate says:

      PHEV driver who disagrees. Market share is relatively even – so how can we say “BEV’s are for the 1% EV enthousiast or the rich”. There are pros and cons for each. Improved battery density will help both get better.

    3. Speculawyer says:

      No, that really isn’t true. I got a ~80 mile range EV but kept a gasser around for longer trips. I never used the gasser and eventually didn’t even bother registering it.

      If I really need to drive longer distance, I’ll deal with chargers, I’ll grab a ZIPcar, or I’ll rent. And although I use charges occasionally, I very rarely use ZIPcars or rent.

      And if I get a 200 mile range EV with DC-fast charge, I won’t need the ZIPcars or rentals.

  8. John says:

    I’d love for them to go for BEVs, but if they are basing future decisions on what their current customer base is saying, they’re far more likely to make incremental improvements rather than do anything visionary. Truly visionary companies conceive of and make products the public doesn’t yet know they want (e.g. Apple with the ipad, etc.). Sadly, that happens very little in the automotive world.

  9. Mikael says:

    I know lots of buyers that would love a Mazda BEV with a range extender. Got many Mazda buyers among friends and family.

    I actually took one of them for a testdrive and to a dealer for a slightly used Opel Ampera. The sole reason for not buying it was that it was an Opel.
    So instead he bought a new Mazda 3 and told the dealer that it was the last ICE he’d buy so by the next time they’d better have an EV if they wanted a returning customer.

  10. Speculawyer says:

    The interesting thing is what is NOT being considered . . . no consideration of building hydrogen fuel cell cars. (LOL, Toyota.)

  11. Mike777 says:

    The battery energy density dictates a Volt like hybrid for the next 5 years.

  12. mr. M says:

    Does hybrid means Plug-In hybrid for Mazda?

    Madza has very good machines 🙂 The best of two worlds would be a energy efficient range extender + around 100miles electric range. Make the range extender optional. Even for 6000$ more they will sell.

    Those way you can sell a cheap BEV or a “all possibilities” more expensive car depending in customer choice. Perfect.

  13. SparkieVee says:

    The way I’m reading the article, Mazda will continue to build standard ICE cars, but soon those cars won’t be able to meet tightening standards so they need to add a green option. They have decided that whatever green option they choose, hybrid or EV, will be available on all models. If hybrid, I’m assuming they’d license tech from Toyota (or possibly Ford, who I believe still own a small fraction of the company and provided their only hybrid to date, the limited-release Tribute hybrid). If EV, they can build on their Demio trial or license tech from someone (I’m guessing not Toyota). I’m hoping for EV but think hybrid might be more likely. Hopefully if they do go hybrid they’ll at least add a plug-in option, even though I’m guessing it would be a zero-miler like the plug-in-Prius.

    1. Robb Stark says:

      Hybrid is more likely from all the legacy automakers that is why it will be tougher to compete there.

      The PHEV market will peak relativly soon. Similar to ICE market, PHEV makers will be fighting over a shrinking market.

      BTW Hybrid means PHEV. Mazda and Subaru will need PHEV,BEV, or FCEV to meet California ZEV mandate. HEV not good enough.

  14. Rick Danger says:

    Mazda, do the right thing, and the long term smart thing and go full on BEV. PHEVs are way more complicated to manufacture, and they are nothing more than a stop-gap measure.

    Anyone else think Mazda is maybe smart enough to also get in on the Supercharger network?

    I’ve always liked Mazda and I would like to see them come through the EV revolution bigger and stronger than they entered it. By the time Toyota takes a few shots to the groin over their hydrogen foolery, there will be room at the top for a company that chooses innovation over masturbation.

  15. Alex says:

    Keep in mind the timeframe.
    For Mazda, those future cars are at least 3 years away and I bet 2020. I would invest in BEV. HEV are yesterday. PHEV will be so in 2025.

  16. Ted Wilson says:

    I don’t think they can switch over to full BEVs since there is range anxiety.

    But they can surely move to Plugin Hybrids with the base model having just 10 mile range.

    Hybrids can be lot more easier as Toyota has done it. Most of the models offered by Toyota in Japan are Hybrids.

  17. scott franco, the evil, greedy republican says:

    I’d be in a electric Miata 5 minutes after they get introduced.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  18. Martin T says:

    Line me up for one I like what Mazda has achieved with so little and the Skyactive gas engines actually work as advertised.

    I enjoyed driving the MX-5 so much I will replace my second car which is ICE with this as it is frugal ICE sports car.

    (Yes I thought I could kick the habbit but the MX-5 is so good as a ICE unit).

  19. Roy LeMeur says:

    Just to touch on a couple of things mentioned…

    Range anxiety. Won’t be an issue in five years. If you can afford it (Tesla), isn’t an issue now.

    Rotary. I used to love ’em. Not efficient fuel user.

    Beemer and Benz are saying their entire product lines are likely to be electric in X amount of years. They might know something.

    Other points… Solar energy production is getting cheaper quick. Wind, hydro, geothermal, tidal. All rapidly evolving areas of energy production.

    High energy density batteries are getting cheaper quick.

    Studies are showing very bad effects on living things from long-term exposure to emissions from burned hydrocarbons (Duh!)

    Toyota is gonna have to eat their hydrogen fool cells. Hydrogen is a -big time- energy loser.

    1. Mikael says:

      Rotary had a problem with efficiency at different RPMs. As a range extender you can optimize it for a specific RPM and should be fairly effective.

      And it’s small, light and has the potential to run forever. There might be more real world problems but in theory it could/should be great.

  20. kubel says:

    I’m actually impressed with how light Mazda is able to make their cars without sacrificing quality or safety and while still using traditional materials. If they entered the EV market, they would probably produce a very efficient product.

    But I want to see Subaru join the fun. Imagine a Forster PHEV with 50 miles all electric range and CHAdeMO. Practical cargo capacity, roomy interior, AWD, excellent visibility, great value… It would be the perfect car for me.

    1. mr. M says:

      the subaru you want is the mitsubishi outlander PHEV

  21. PatrickB says:

    I’d be really interested in a PHEV RX7 or MazdaSpeed 3 PHEV wagon. Not interested in a pos city car.

  22. Robert says:

    As a past owner of a Mazda RX7, original body style (1983 GSL), with very quick aftermarket Turbo (Arkay system, ~14psi boost, 205 HP.) and having driven all electric from my High School built Pontac Firefly (GEO Metro) EV Conversion, to Tesla test drives, I would love to see an Equally nice styled 2 seater as that RX7, with 120 miles AER BEV, CHAdeMO & Supercharger available with at least 10 kW AC charging!

    Nothing Mazda made since that RX7 impressed me enough to even test drive, but I would also consider Wankel Rotary + Electric Motor PHEV version RX7 update, if I could not get a full BEV.

  23. Cavaron says:

    To test an EV with 20kWh is like asking people if they want to buy an EV from 5 years ago…

  24. JImGord says:

    MAZDA: PHEVs for Mazda 7 plus in the short term BEVS for the Mazda 3 and 5 in the long term. Just Hurry up!
    It will be east to eat Toyota’s lunch as Toyota has clearly lost its mind sniffing all that hydrogen.

  25. SparkEV says:

    Mazda2 (20kWh, 75kW) sounds like lower power version of SparkEV (19.5kWh, 100kW). If they can bring the price down to $13,000 post subsidy (SparkEV=$13,500), they could have viable contender as best EV for the money. Will they?

    http://sparkev.blogspot.com/2015/09/why-sparkev-by-sparkev-blogspot.html

  26. Martin T. says:

    Mazda MX-5 with EV = E-Zoom

    Be dam fantastic to drive with the top down in a sporty MX-5 EV roadster.

    Yes please !