Last week, Mazda pledged electric vehicles would make up a quarter of its sales by 2030, by which point its entire lineup will be electrified. In case the implications weren’t clear enough, Mazda executives spelled them out at a recent presentation, confirming the MX-5 will inevitably receive some form of electrification.
Company officials reportedly broke the news at a technological and policy conference last Thursday, attended by Japan’s Kuruma News. There, Mazda’s Senior Managing Executive Officer, Ichiro Hirose, reportedly stated the MX-5 “is included in” the aforementioned electrification scheme. He apparently emphasized, however, that the electrified roadster will honor the MX-5 dynasty by carrying forward its lightweight sports car legacy.
Hirose didn’t specify whether electrification means the MX-5 will become a hybrid or a fully electric vehicle, and the waters were quickly muddied further by his Mazda colleague Takeji Kojima, Managing Executive Officer. Kojima reportedly chimed in saying the car to which Hirose referred would be a new, future model, though context seems to suggest they mean simply the next generation of MX-5—not some radical replacement.
Should the MX-5 (NE) retain a combustion engine and come out a hybrid, it could apparently borrow the 48-volt mild hybrid technology from Mazda’s larger rear-drive models, which executives reportedly hinted could become cheaper as it matures. The combustion engine itself may be compatible with synthetic fuels like those championed by Porsche, a feature that Kojima seems to suggest could become retroactively available for existing owners of MX-5s.
“For customers who have purchased the [MX-5] Roadster so far, we will provide an internal combustion engine that uses biofuel such as e-fuel,” said Kojima, as translated by Japanese Nostalgic Car. “We would like to utilize it to realize carbon neutrality as Mazda.”
No comment was reportedly made regarding the possibility of an entirely electric MX-5, one that could be based on Mazda’s scalable EV platform coming during the second half of this decade—by which time the MX-5 (ND) may be ready to hang up its hat.
Miscellaneous ICE advancements that prolong the ND’s life (and carry over to the NE) aren’t out of the question, and if anything are anticipated. When we asked a Mazda spokesperson at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show whether its SkyActiv-X compression-ignition engine could come to the MX-5, they simply told us to “watch this space.” Nothing has yet come of that hint, but you bet we’re watching that space.
We’ve reached out to Mazda for comment and will update this story when we hear back.
Know what Mazda has in store for the next-gen MX-5? Drop me a line at [email protected]
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