One could be forgiven for not knowing exactly where Mazda is going right now.
Just as the small Japanese automaker prepares to unveil its first-ever all-electric vehicle at the Tokyo Auto Show, we hear from one executive that Mazda is still committed to diesel engines despite their rapidly decreasing popularity. It actually has bigger plans with an innovative new technology coming in 2020.
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European R&D chief Christian Schultze told Autocar: “We are sticking to diesel engines. In 2020, we have a new approach to diesel engines. We will show you how clean and very efficient diesel engines can be. […] We will surprise you.”
He stopped short of saying if Mazda would use similar technology to its pioneering SKYACTIV-X gasoline engine, but added: “There are not so many differences between petrol and diesel.”
Seemingly questioning the environmental benefits of EVs, the company believes that it’s important to consider real-world emissions over the life cycle of a vehicle instead of just looking at local emissions. That’s why it has a “multi-solution approach” to sustainability.
While continuing to improve internal combustion technology with both gasoline and diesel engines (which will be "the base power for 85 percent of all cars up until 2035"), Mazda will offer electric, plug-in hybrid and range-extender vehicles in the future.
"We hope governments wake up and see that electrification is one way but there are others, too," Schultze concluded.
The new diesels in the works might be part of a 48-volt mild hybrid system or a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, who knows?
The biggest question is, will we see them in North America? That’s doubtful. Remember, the aforementioned SKYACTIV-X is still not sold here and the current-generation SKYACTIV-D diesel engine made its way into the CX-5 lineup only recently.