American buyers looking for a hybrid Mazda will have to wait, but a new report from Reuters says that starting around 2030, everything in the automaker’s lineup will be either all-electric or a gas-electric hybrid. The news comes on the heels of several manufacturers — including Volvo, Jaguar, and Maserati — committing to a similar shift, and you don’t need a crystal ball to see that more companies are likely to pile on the green bandwagon in the next few years.
If anything, we’re surprised that the deadline for the switch is so far out, as 13 years is a lifetime in regards to powertrain development, and we think that ever-encroaching emissions requirements would provide ample pressure to make the switch sooner rather than later. For Mazda, the rub regarding hybrid-electric technology likely comes from the fact that unlike industry heavyweights Toyota and Honda, it has yet to diversify its powertrains. Right now, the sole hybrid in the company’s lineup is a Mazda3, and it’s only available in the Japanese domestic market.
Instead, Mazda has focused its efforts on eking out every last bit of efficiency from its gasoline engines, and in that respect, the results have been impressive. The company has recently taken the wraps off of its new compression ignition engine, which balances the fuel-sipping properties of a diesel engine with the power and performance of a gasoline powerplant, and industry folks who’ve gotten to see it in action have given it high praise. When it hits the road, drivers should expect to see mpgs increase by up to 30 percent, while still delivering the fantastic driving characteristics Mazda is known for.
Of course, the big question is what this news means for the sporty little MX-5. In our opinion, it’s one of the most fun cars you can find at any price, and we have to wonder about how it will incorporate the next-generation drivetrain. But given how well Mazda’s engineers have updated the roadster in the past, we’re sure they’re up to the task. Expect to see the first-hybrid electric models at your local AutoNation-affiliated Mazda dealer sometime in the next two years.