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Drew Dowdell

Mazda News: Next Miata Could Be Electrified

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Mazda has an internal debate going on as to whether to electrify or not the next generation MX-5 Miata.  One of the major concerns is keeping the car light weight. The current car in base form tips the scales at just 2,345 lbs. and is incredibly well balanced, so adding batteries and electric motors could upset that balance. 

Electric motors can be compact and powerful though, adding torque in places where gasoline motors are weak.  In order to provide that power, they require dense and heavy battery packs. Still, if power can be added to the 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque, it might make up for the weight increase in a straight line.

Why do this? It's not like the MX-5 is a huge seller. It doesn't contribute to Mazda's overall volume in such a way that it should require efficiency tuning to meet fuel economy standards. Just 8,971 Miatas passed through Mazda dealerships in 2019.  The answer is in image. Mazda wants to maintain the appearance of being eco-friendly. They feel that the preference of people who enjoy driving sports cars could be changing, so Mazda needs to think about the direction society is going. The next Mazda MX-5 isn't due until 2022 or so, so Mazda still has some time to decide.

Mazda is committed to the original formula that made the Miata an icon though, and any electrification will have to happen with the thought of maintaining lightness as a priority.


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Rock on Mazda! :metal:

Totally agree with them while I just do not get or see any real value in their Sky Active Engines, I do agree that they need to keep the Eco Green stuff going and they could do this by adding electric motors, super capacitors to make a hybrid Miata as well as look to the denser solid state batteries that should be out in 2022/23 for a pure ev auto.

This is the RIGHT thinking for them and they should be exploring this option now for the next generation Miata.

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Stupid idea.  Strays from formula.  Adds complexity.  Adds weight which will need to be taken out elsewhere...unless Mazda decides to ruin the car.

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There is nothing that precludes Mazda from having the standard MX-5 AND an BEV version (call it MX-6 if you like).

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"electrified" can be a mild hybrid with a 20 hp electric motor added on to the current engine.  Doesn't have to be a full hybrid like a Prius or a plug-in or anything.   I think the problem is adding cost, the Miata's best chance to sell is low cost, if these start costing $35k for a base model then people aren't going to buy them.

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Mazda will need to go through Chevy levels of  thought process and engineering to create a new electrified Miata.

What I mean by that is, Chevy re-organized, rethought, re-did the Corvette and got it to be a new thing, but also managed to keep Corvette dynamics intact. Price, performance, and image on the new C8 are unmistakably Corvette.

Mazda Miata means small, low to the ground,  lightweight,  tossable and fun to drive little roadster that is relatively cheap to buy and to own. 

Mazda needs to keep those qualities and an all electric Miata  will definitely have  some of those qualities but all electric also eliminates  a lot of those qualities too.

Skateboard platform is a must. 

Heavy battery is a must too.  Weight reduction should be a priority.  Expensive lightweight materials should be avoided in order to keep price down. But...EVs arent profitable just yet.  Ford says they will make money on the Mustang Mach-E. Tesla for whatever reason is barely producing a profit here and there....

Mazda is in a pickle.  Going back to the Corvette, a huge factor as to why Corvette makes money for Chevrolet and GM is because the tooling for the V8 engine in it is paid for by the massive amounts of pick-up trucks and SUVs GM sells.  Also, any new technology or electronic gizmo on the Corvette will eventually get passed down to the other GM vehicles so GM could take a slight hit on certain Corvette parts knowing that they will eventually make it up down the road with the other vehicles sometime in the near future.

Although it seems like a logical  direction to take for the Miata, it may not be a viable business case for it. Unless Mazda partners up with another manufacturer  to share battery tech and light weight materials with...possible even do some skateboard platform sharing as well...

 

 

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Any extra weight can be used strategically.  As in the Teslas, with the battery mounted low in the floor, it lowers the center of gravity in the car and helps with handling. I don't know how they do that with a front engine / RWD vehicle, but it can't be insurmountable. 

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MX-5 has a 50/50 weight distribution.
I've never seen a 'center of gravity' analysis that provided any data WRT handling, but I'm confident any differences within the same vehicle are negligible. However, adding -say- 500lbs to a 23xx lb car (esp of this definition) will unquestionably be a detriment to handling, not an asset.
Partial electrification is probably preferable.

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Yes, the battery on a skateboard platform does reduce center of gravity,  like what Tesla does is a must, it improves that handling ten fold so having a front engine, RWD, 50/50 weight distribution is a moot point with a  BEV skateboard platform.

BUT...a Miata is NOT only about nimble handling, its about TOSSABLE handling  on a car that weighs very little. A BEV IMMEDIATELY NEGATES that out of the box....using conventional materials  for the frame and body...I guess that would be steel...  

High strength steel is stronger lighter than steel but more expensive, aluminium and carbon fibre and titanium and other more exotic light weight materials  to offset the heft of the battery just augments the cost of construction which augments the price the consumer has to pay and that also NEGATES what the Miata is all about...

That problem is not insurmountable by any means, but when you factor in cost and price versus the weight quotient, then THAT is when Mazda engineers  have to think like Corvette engineers and how to solve those obstacles.

Even Corvette engineers augmented the weight of the Corvette as compared to the last generation. OK...that weight gain was more to do with the dual clutch transmission than anything else, but like I said, the aluminium frame that the Corvette uses was done with cost effectiveness BECAUSE that technology was passed on down from the C6 Z06 to the Z07 and the Cadillac CT6...

Carbon fibre bits and pieces here and there were also time tested with new ways of fabricating it to bring down cost and GM figures the C8 will sell in large amounts (for Corvette standards) and the fibre glass parts have just about been perfected today in which GM KNOWS how to manufacture fibre glass on the very very cheap and so forth (V8 tooling shared with other GM vehicles).   THAT is how GM kept the C8 base Corvette at 60 000. But have you guys noticed?  The options on the C8 QUICKLY move the price tag needle waaaaay waaaaay up, to recuperate monies from all that tech...

Mazda, as compared to Chevy, is in very knew territory regarding building a very niche sports car, and now using more or less expensive technology to build and sell in low numbers  and try to make a profit on them. The Miata simply cant sustain a "Z51 3LT" trim package that sells for 100 000 which is what...a 40% price increase over the base C8 Vette?   That would make a possible Miata the price of a base Corvette.  Yikes for the Miata...

PS: There WAS a time when Corvette was not making money for Chevy and GM too... 

Ill stick to my point of view and say that the Miata going electric may not be a viable business case. Unless like what @smk4565 says,  a mild hybrid system and not full out BEV  with a minimal addition of low weight materials to keep costs down might help with the weight thing and the price of it all.

 

 

Edited by oldshurst442

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I don't think it would be wise for them to invest so much into what is already a low volume vehicle with excellent fuel economy for a fun car.  Better to attempt EV CUVs first where their fuel economy has not been near top of class as of late.

 

 

 

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Tesla Model 3 lateral G : .95

2014 Challenger SRT : .94

Of course there’s a LOT more to handling, but I don’t believe center of gravity has any bearing outside of dedicated competition/ instrumented testing. Maybe if the engine/trans was mounted on the roof on one car...

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1 hour ago, balthazar said:

Tesla Model 3 lateral G : .95

2014 Challenger SRT : .94

Of course there’s a LOT more to handling, but I don’t believe center of gravity has any bearing outside of dedicated competition/ instrumented testing. Maybe if the engine/trans was mounted on the roof on one car...

How about a test that combines a few things involving handling.. MT's figure 8.

Model 3: 24.9 sec w/ all-season tires

Model 3: 24.3 sec w/ summer tires

'15 Hellcat: 24.7 sec. 

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I see more fun in an AWD skateboard platform Miata that allows for electric drift of the auto and with Torque vectoring you truly can dial up the fun factor. 

I believe many who have not been in a Torque vectoring EV will realize how much fun it adds to the driving dynamic.

I can see a 3,000lb AWD Miata EV with Torque Vectoring that will be a blast to drive as is the current one today.

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2 hours ago, oldshurst442 said:

down from the C6 Z06 to the Z07 and the Cadillac CT6...

that should have be written as C6 Z06 , C7 and the Cadillac CT6. 

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9 minutes ago, oldshurst442 said:

that should have be written as C6 Z06 , C7 and the Cadillac CT6. 

Come on Olds, get your writing right! :P 

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18 minutes ago, dfelt said:

I see more fun in an AWD skateboard platform Miata that allows for electric drift of the auto and with Torque vectoring you truly can dial up the fun factor. 

I believe many who have not been in a Torque vectoring EV will realize how much fun it adds to the driving dynamic.

I can see a 3,000lb AWD Miata EV with Torque Vectoring that will be a blast to drive as is the current one today.

Ill be a hypocrite  and say no to that bolded part.

Why hypocrite?

Because I did not mind and wanted fully for Corvette to go mid-engined and therefore changing the Corvette's technical identity. 

This will very much alter what a Miata is suppose to be.  

Tadge Juechter said of the C8 that the Vette is still a two seater, V8, RWD sports car and that its visceral Corvette driving characteristics are still intact not changing that formula at all to what all other Corvettes were in the past while retaining that relatively affordable price point with room for golf bags for storage. And that was important to maintain for the C8.

Well, the Miata is suppose to be a more reliable,  Japanese version of a British roadster sports car. And THAT means small, short, low to the ground, and very light.  And the Miata has never really veered of that standard.  

To make it 3000lbs is a NO-NO...

AWD with torque vectoring emulates and imitates RWD and light weight toss-ability,  Ill give you that, but 3000 lbs is still 3000 lbs. You feel that weigh tossing around a sports car in the curves.  Especially a roadster. 

So a big NO to 3000 lbs!!!  

AWD, electric motors with torque vectoring doesnt really mess up with the British roadster sports car image just as how the C8 Vette retains that same driving dynamic that all Corvettes and its owners seem to enjoy....

But, no amount of technology could get around that 3000 lb gorilla...

Weight saving materials is a possible answer, but that drives up the cost and price. Not a good thing for a Miata. 

Not a good thing for a Corvette either.

An all carbon fibre and titanium this and aluminium that underbody bringing the Vettte's weight closer to that ideal 3000 lb super car weight would make the Corvette Z51 with not even 500 horsepower an even more European sports car killer, but then that 60 000 dollar price tag would have to be kissed good-bye...

The price tag would be more in line of what people feared the Vette's BASE price would balloon up to. 

 

8 minutes ago, dfelt said:

Come on Olds, get your writing right! :P 

Its that senility versus virility thing again...

 

Edited by oldshurst442
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35 minutes ago, dfelt said:

I can see a 3,000lb AWD Miata EV with Torque Vectoring that will be a blast to drive as is the current one today.

No way it will be as fun as RWD.  Look at many high performance awd supercars, take a look at NSX.  The awd might help them to get going from standing still much faster, but when it comes to handling, the bias is always to the rear wheels, even in the car like NSX that has torque vectoring.

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8 minutes ago, ykX said:

No way it will be as fun as RWD.  Look at many high performance awd supercars, take a look at NSX.  The awd might help them to get going from standing still much faster, but when it comes to handling, the bias is always to the rear wheels, even in the car like NSX that has torque vectoring.

Nobody says that Mazda engineers and tuners cant and wont make an AWD, torque-vectored electric Miata RWD biased...

If that is what you are saying, that supercars with AWD torque vectoring are tuned to be RWD biased. 

Because I know that these AWD torque vectored supercars ARE RWD biased...and Mazda could just do the same. 

It aint pure RWD...and Ill agree with you if you are saying torque vectoring is still NOT a 100% RWD equivalent though.  But it does emulate it quite nicely Ill retort back. 

Edited by oldshurst442

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5 hours ago, oldshurst442 said:

Ill be a hypocrite  and say no to that bolded part.

Why hypocrite?

Because I did not mind and wanted fully for Corvette to go mid-engined and therefore changing the Corvette's technical identity. 

This will very much alter what a Miata is suppose to be.  

Tadge Juechter said of the C8 that the Vette is still a two seater, V8, RWD sports car and that its visceral Corvette driving characteristics are still intact not changing that formula at all to what all other Corvettes were in the past while retaining that relatively affordable price point with room for golf bags for storage. And that was important to maintain for the C8.

Well, the Miata is suppose to be a more reliable,  Japanese version of a British roadster sports car. And THAT means small, short, low to the ground, and very light.  And the Miata has never really veered of that standard.  

To make it 3000lbs is a NO-NO...

AWD with torque vectoring emulates and imitates RWD and light weight toss-ability,  Ill give you that, but 3000 lbs is still 3000 lbs. You feel that weigh tossing around a sports car in the curves.  Especially a roadster. 

So a big NO to 3000 lbs!!!  

AWD, electric motors with torque vectoring doesnt really mess up with the British roadster sports car image just as how the C8 Vette retains that same driving dynamic that all Corvettes and its owners seem to enjoy....

But, no amount of technology could get around that 3000 lb gorilla...

Weight saving materials is a possible answer, but that drives up the cost and price. Not a good thing for a Miata. 

Not a good thing for a Corvette either.

An all carbon fibre and titanium this and aluminium that underbody bringing the Vettte's weight closer to that ideal 3000 lb super car weight would make the Corvette Z51 with not even 500 horsepower an even more European sports car killer, but then that 60 000 dollar price tag would have to be kissed good-bye...

The price tag would be more in line of what people feared the Vette's BASE price would balloon up to. 

I doubt other than the Boomers which are mostly dead now and the Silent Generation which seems to be a big portion of current Miata buyers and those of us crazy enough from the X generation to be into auto's that the bulk of future buyers will not notice the difference of 23XX lbs or 3000 lbs in an awd Torque vectoring RWD bias ev Japanese roadster.

Its that senility versus virility thing again...

ROFLMAO, that is just me teasing you young one! :P 

 

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5 hours ago, dfelt said:

I see more fun in an AWD skateboard platform Miata that allows for electric drift of the auto and with Torque vectoring you truly can dial up the fun factor. 

I believe many who have not been in a Torque vectoring EV will realize how much fun it adds to the driving dynamic.

I can see a 3,000lb AWD Miata EV with Torque Vectoring that will be a blast to drive as is the current one today.

Absolutely NOTHING close to what a Miata has been since 1991.  It is admirable that Mazda, despite ever-growing government interference, has carried the torch... MX-5 Miata has stayed true to its original mission.  What you propose is a complete and utter disaster.

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