Mazda recently announced the testing of its Skyactiv-X compression ignition engine, which promises to burn gasoline with diesel-like efficiency — no spark required. If it hits its projected launch date of 2019, it will become the first mass-produced motor of its type and is likely to be showered with praise from environmentalists and enthusiasts alike.
However, as we progress deeper into the millennium, it’s becoming evident that more and more automakers are willing to embrace electricity as the next solution to efficiency. That makes Mazda a bit of an oddity, maybe even a dinosaur, and we were wondering when the company would give in to electrification. Especially since it has already partnered with Toyota to tighten its grasp on the technology.
The current trend in the industry is for an automaker to choose a date for omnipresent electrification, tell the press, and then pat itself on the back for a job well done. Volvo set its date for widespread EV/hybrid usage as 2019, but other automakers have given more conservative estimates with a median of 2025. For Mazda, a report from Kyodo News (via Reuters) indicates that the Japanese automaker will electrify its entire lineup by the “early 2030s.”
While the automaker hasn’t yet responded to the report, the news is likely associated with its “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030” campaign, which focuses the brand’s long-term strategy on tech development — including Skyactiv-X.
That’s quite a bit further out than its rivals. So far, in fact, that we aren’t all that interested in taking this claim too seriously. While there is little doubt that Mazda will eventually bolster its EV footprint, especially since it currently only has one (overseas) hybrid model to its name, plans made more than a decade out aren’t much use to anyone.
Here are a few examples. Remember in 2008 when Honda said the FCX Clarity would usher in the age of hydrogen-powered cars? Do you recall when General Motors started consumer testing of the EV1 and assured the world that the age of battery-driven vehicles was upon us? So do we.
The point is that, if anything, Mazda will gradually tweak its fleet to include more hybrids and milk its ultra-efficient gasoline engines before reassessing the global situation closer to the end of the next decade. What it has done here is made itself appear as if it’s in line with other manufacturers by setting a target date so far into the future that it’ll never be held accountable for it — which is fine with us. Mazda is doing good work with the internal combustion engine and we don’t see any reason for it to march with its contemporaries at the back of the line when it can blaze its own trail down another.