It looks like Mazda, maker of fine sports cars, practical & stylish sedans and etc., will be getting into the hybrid game, despite earlier denials. At first, at the most recent New York Auto Show, Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi said the company would embrace hybrid technologies after a long time spent deriding the idea. Then, Mazda Executive Vice President Philip Spender put out new details on the company’s future hybrid plans. “We’ve started to talk a lot more about it lately, in part because everybody else is. Mazda is responding partly to new government incentives and emissions rules,” said Spender during the Japanese launch of the new Mazda3.
Unlike other companies, most notably Toyota with their industry standard Prius, Mazda will not make a stand-alone hybrid model. Rather, the Hiroshima-based company will offer gasoline-electric drivetrains as an option on existing models in its line-up. The first Mazda hybrids are expected to see the showroom floors by the “20-teens”.
Spender didn’t say which models will be getting the hybrid drivetrain options first, but the tea-leaf-reading, between-the-lines guessing points to the Mazda3 and Mazda6 should be first in line as well as the firm’s SUV/Crossover/whatever you call them models.
And Mazda’s MX-5 Miata roadster, pound for pound and dollar for dollar your best sportscar value on the road today? Definitely no word on that, but my guess would be no (at least for now). Space is tight in a Miata, and the added weight of a hybrid drivetrain runs counter to the initial design brief. But that said, a Miata with an F1-KERS-like system, giving you another 80 HP at the touch of a button DOES have a certain appeal.
Photo from Flickr user Mr. T in DC