It may seem the internal combustion engine is on the last ropes as various automakers begin to put more efforts into electric vehicles and countries announcing bans on the sale of vehicles with these engines. But Mazda isn't willing to give it up with a fight.
Robert Davis, Mazda North America Operations' senior vice president for special assignments told attendees at CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan this week that the “impending death of the internal combustion engine is overrated.”
“We certainly considered the adoption of new technologies, like battery electric vehicles, plug-ins, hybrids and the like Before we go to the time, effort and expense of adding electrification, we are convinced that a solid, efficient internal-combustion engine base is critical. The foreseeable future will use the internal-combustion engine as its main motive source, so that’s where the bulk of our engineering focus has been placed," said Davis.
“Get the internal-combustion engine right, and it makes the whole system that much more efficient when you layer in electric systems, such as idle-stop, high-power charging systems with regenerative braking and ultimately series or parallel hybrids.”
Due to Mazda being a small automaker, they cannot extend their limited r&d resources into developing different powertrains such as electrics and hybrids. They're basically going with 'run what ya brung'.
Davis was also critical of governments trying to mandate particular types of powertrains to meet standards. Instead, it should be the industry to find the best solution.
“What we need as an industry is a target, and we need to be left to find the best, most customer-acceptable way to reach that," Davis explained.
“Take the $7,500 EV credit off the table? At the same time, you take the EV mandate off the table. Let the government keep the $7,500 and let the industry find the best way to meet the clean air standard. Make it a (carbon-dioxide emissions) target, a grams-per-mile target, a fuel-economy number, whatever feels best. But don’t mandate that we have to sell a particular type of powertrain,”
It needs to be noted that Mazda is working on an EV for certain markets that will be launched in the coming years, using tech from Toyota.