Mazda is taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to electric cars as it evaluates the market, customer preferences, and emerging technologies before it fully commits to more zero-emissions models.
Speaking at this year’s Japan Mobility Show, Mazda’s Director of R&D, Ichiro Hirose, said the brand’s next battery electric vehicle (BEV) won’t surface until close to the end of the decade. Hirose revealed that Mazda has divided its “plans to 2030″ into three phases for electrification. He said:
“Up until 2025 is the first phase, up to 2027 is the second phase, and after 2028 is the third phase. The phase after 2028, we are going to have a full-scale introduction of battery EVs. Up until then, we will prepare the technology, and from 2028 onwards, we will fully deploy EVs.”
Till now, Mazda has released just one mass-market electric car in the form of the city-focused MX-30 EV, which has a driving range of just 200km. However, it has been discontinued in certain markets such as Australia due to slow sales. While we know Japanese brands have been lethargic towards embracing EVs, big names such as Toyota, Honda, and Nissan have laid out their plans to include a certain number of EVs in their portfolio within the next few years.
So far, only Mazda and Mitsubishi remain among the prominent Japanese automakers without a clear timeline to transition into EVs. However, Hirose is not concerned about falling behind in the EV race, as he believes the market is still finding its feet, and jumping too soon could be catastrophic for a smaller brand like Mazda, adding that Mazda has no intention of being a pioneer or something in that world (of EVs). Hirose said:
“Electric vehicle customer preferences, what are they? We cannot see it clearly yet. We will keep preparing for it and, once customer preferences become clear, then we will ready the product. Because after all, the investment required for electric vehicles is going to be substantial, so we have to have a certain volume, otherwise it is going to be risky.”
Hirose would not speculate on the form of Mazda’s next EV, whether it will be a volume-selling mid-size SUV or a city runabout hatchback, but he did confirm the brand is exclusively working on electric cars in-house and is not collaborating with another brand to leverage external technologies.
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