Mazda prefers IC engines instead of EV

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Words: Nile Bijoux
3 Dec 2018

Mazda has confirmed it will push ahead with the development of internal combustion engines in preference to electrification, at least in the short term.

Speaking at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week, Ichiro Hirose, Mazda’s managing executive officer of powertrain development, has been reported as saying that there is still a lot of development potential in the internal combustion engine. He reckons efficiency of the petrol engine can be improved by as much as 30 per cent, with diesels not far behind.

The Japanese manufacturer believes the compression-ignition engine has a future and is working on advanced technologies to make it even more efficient. There are no plans at Mazda to follow other manufacturers’ decisions to ditch diesel. The powertrain is, according to Mazda, ideal for SUVs due to their added mass.

As for electrification, Mazda has concerns with how electricity is generated in different regions. Places where electricity is cleanly generated suit EVs, Hirose says, but IC engines may have an advantage in terms of ‘well to wheel’ emissions in other areas.

And against all odds, the rotary engine is set to make a comeback...as a range extender. Whether that is paired with a fully electric vehicle or a hybrid of some sort is yet to be confirmed.

Speaking of the rotary, other news coming out of LA suggests Skyactiv-X technology could potentially be applied to the Wankel engine. Finally, Mazda is set to release a hybrid Mazda3 next year, with a diesel-hybrid CX5-based machine in 2020.

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