It was recently Mazda’s turn to announce sweeping electrification changes across its line-up.
In a release issued last week, the brand confirmed 13 new fully electric and hybrid cars, a new platform specifically designed for electric vehicles, and that pure internal combustion vehicles would be phased out by 2030.
The latter means a fairly grand change is one the way for one of the marque’s most iconic (and most unchanged) nameplates; the MX-5.
Not only does the MX-5 not come with forced induction (unlike almost any other sports car), but it’s also barely changed in format. The current ND-generation MX-5 is just as small as the first-generation NA, and still perseveres with a manual stick to boot.
But, not only is a hybrid MX-5 effectively confirmed. The brand is also not ruling out making the diminutive sportster fully electric … although it seems unlikely.
Speaking at a recent Japanese media roundtable event Mazda research and development and cost innovation boss Ichiro Hirose said the MX-5 is in the “scope of electrification in 2030”, adding that he hopes to “achieve electrification that respects the [MX-5]’s DNA as a lightweight sports car”.
Those praying against a fully electric MX-5 are probably breathing a sigh of relief at that last point. Electric powertrains and batteries are still very heavy at the minute, meaning that the notion of a fully electric MX-5 is probably unlikely for now.
Alongside its comments about electrification, the media roundtable also confirmed the brand’s focus on biofuels and possibly synthetic fuels. Research and development executive Takeji Kojima noted that an “internal combustion engine that uses biofuel, such as e-fuel” could be a player in Mazda’s plans for carbon neutrality.
All of this comes at a somewhat awkward time for the lifecycle of the MX-5. A next-gen ‘NE’ MX-5 should be on the cards soon, given that the ND has been with us now since 2015. If Mazda introduces it in the next few years, the model can enjoy a healthy stanza as a pure ICE machine.
But if the wait is long, Mazda might have to make it electrified from the go.