Mazda, With Help from Toyota, Will Electrify Entire Lineup

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【Summary】In order to keep up with demand for electric vehicles around the world, Mazda recently announced plans to electrify all of its models after 2030.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Oct 31, 2017 10:00 AM PT
Mazda, With Help from Toyota, Will Electrify Entire Lineup

Demand for electric vehicles is increasing around the world as more countries are looking to cut emissions and reduce the amount of pollution vehicles put into the air. Numerous automakers, including Volvo, BMW, Hyundai, and even Aston Martin are planning a future filled with electric vehicles as they look to set their feet into an ever-increasing electric future. 

Now, another automaker has entered into the fray – Mazda. According to a report by Automotive News, the Japanese automaker announced plans to electrify its entire lineup of vehicles by 2030. Citing Kyodo News, unnamed sources confirmed the change to an electric-forward lineup to the outlet, while a Mazda spokesperson declined to comment. 

Going From Only One To Roughly Eight

Currently, Mazda only has one electrified vehicle on sale, which is a hybrid variant of the Mazda3. The move, then, to electrify every one of its vehicles by 2030 will be an ambitious goal for the automaker, as engineering, developing, and selling the vehicles will pose to be a problem for the company. Before going completely electric, Auto News claims that Mazda will introduce an electric powertrain in 2019. 

Mazda, as Green Car Reports, will also introduce a new SkyActiv-X engine, which will be the first high-volume motor to use homogenous charge compression ignition in 2019, reveals a product plan. The plan also states that Mazda will introduce a mild-hybrid system for its vehicles at the same time. The last part of the equation, as the outlet claims, is a battery-electric vehicle that will come "with and without a range extender" in 2019, as a 2020 model. 

Mazda Logo.jpg

Small Fish In A Massive Pond

Mazda is a small automaker that only produces 1.6 million automobiles a year, states Green Car Reports. Other automakers, like General Motors, Volkswagen Group, Toyota, and Nissan-Renault are giants that sell approximately 10 million units a year. When compared to the likes of its competition, Mazda is a tiny fish surrounded by large sharks. 

In other words, there's no way Mazda would be able to compete with other automakers in terms of sales of electrified vehicles, nor could it keep up with their costs for the development of the cars, either. It only makes sense, then, for Mazda to team up with another automaker, which is exactly what it did. 

As Green Car Reports, Mazda's senior managing executive officer, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, told the outlet that the battery-electric vehicle would be "an individual top hat" on a platform that's shared with Toyota.  

Toyota, as the outlet states, is well on its way to developing electric powertrains, as the Japanese automaker stated that it would develop a fully-electric machine with a serious amount of range by 2020. The vehicle is meant to appease Chinese regulators that have been pushing for more plug-in and electric vehicles, states the outlet. 

The CEO of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, is reportedly leading the development team for the automaker's first mass-produced electric vehicle, reports Green Car Reports, pointing towards how important electric vehicles are now. 

If All Goes Well, The Partnership Could Lead To More

This partnership for electric vehicle is most likely the result of the two automakers deciding to open a joint assembly plant in the United States. In addition to the plant, the announcement claimed that both would share automotive technologies, including those that involve connected cars, advanced safety features, and electric vehicles. 

From the looks of it, Mazda, which is toiling away at making the traditional combustion engine as fuel-efficient as possible, will probably utilize Toyota's underpinnings, as that would save the automaker a large amount of money in developing its own hybrid or electric parts. 

Green Car Reports asked Fujiwara whether the new group of electrified vehicles would receive a completely different model name, like the Nissan Leaf, or simply exist under the same umbrella as the non-electrified vehicles with a different line, similar to the BMW 3-Series electric sedan. He responded by stating that the all-electric models would wear a new model name, while plug-in hybrids would most likely exist under the existing model's name, reports the outlet. 

Unfortunately, Green Car Reports claims that Mazda will concentrate on selling its electrified vehicles in two specific regions before spreading out to different locations. Those two, unsurprisingly, are China and California. The move to cater to China's whims first makes sense, as the country is the most profitable location for automakers. 

But Fujiwara claims that these two regions have obtained the automaker's focus, as they meet two crucial pieces of criteria: they have the necessary infrastructure in place to charge electric vehicles and they also have a power grid that's sufficiently clean, reports Green Car Reports

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It's All About Reducing Emissions

Cutting the amount of carbon emissions, as the outlet points out, is extremely important to Mazda. According to Fujiwara, the "wells-to-wheels" carbon emissions per mile of an electric vehicle are much lower than what Mazda can achieve with the automaker's most efficient SkyActiv-X engine that uses HCCI. 

While the move to introduce an electrified version for every vehicle in its lineup is to stay relevant, it will also help the automaker reach its ambitious goal of cutting the amount of carbon emissions from its entire lineup in half by 2030. That's a lofty goal, but it doesn't stop there for Mazda, as the Japanese automaker wants to cut the amount of emissions by 90 percent in 2050. All of the figures are being compared to levels from 2010. 

The wells-to-wheels carbon footprint, as Green Car Reports claims, involves looking at the amount of carbon that's emitted to generate the necessary amount of power to recharge the vehicle's batteries for EVs and for internal combustion engines, it requires taking into account the amount of carbon that's emitted when it comes to extracting, refining, and transporting liquid hydrocarbon fuels. 

When it comes to comparing electric vehicles against traditional gasoline ones, Mazda is one of the few automakers that suggests wells-to-wheels carbon footprint and not just fuel efficiency is an appropriate measure, claims the outlet. 

Despite all of its research, Mazda believes that there's more fuel efficiency to be had from gasoline engines. Green Car Reports claims that the majority of gas engines that are in production reach 40 to 42 percent thermal efficiency, but the automaker believes that 55 to 60 percent is achievable. 

And Mazda won't be ditching its gasoline engines for EV-technology anytime soon, as Fujiwara claims that the automaker won't be able to sell fully-electric vehicles with a useable range at an affordable price within the next 10 years. 

via: Green Car Reports, Automotive News

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