Unlike a lot of automakers, Mazda has been slow to adopt hybrid or electric car technology as the answer to mandatory fuel economy regulations. Instead Mazda has focused on improving the performance and efficiency of gasoline and diesel engines, though it might have hybrids in mind too.
Via Autoblog Green comes a story out of Yomiuri Shimbum that Mazda is planning to launch a diesel-electric hybrid in 2016, which would be the first of its kind on the Asian market. Gas-electric hybrids have become commonplace, but Mazda thinks diesels have a lot more efficiency to offer, and the proposed car would have a small diesel-engine powering electric motors.
An electric range of 40 km, or about 26 miles, would allow the car to go without using any fuel, though longer range driving would be possible thanks to the diesel range extender. Mazda has also considered the use of a hydrogen-powered rotary range extender, but a small diesel engine might be the simpler solution for now.
Meanwhile U.S. customers are left wondering why the promised Mazda6 diesel has failed to materialize. Initially delayed to bring performance more in line with the Zoom-zoom Mazda fans have come to expect, the spring debut date has come and gone without any additional word. The delayed launch doesn’t bode well for Mazda’s SkyActiv-D ambitions, which are playing out with equal drama on the race track. The Mazda SkyActiv-D Daytona Prototype is coming off one of its best finishes of the season, but the pair of diesel race cars have been a bear to keep on the track and competitive Yet for all the delays and difficult race days, Mazda’s diesel ambitions could come out all the stronger for it
As for this supposed diesel-electric hybrid? It sounds doable, but without any sort of proof or confirmation, I’m left wondering if its not just another cool-but-ultimately-fruitless Mazda project.
Perhaps this time, it’s something more…but I won’t get my hopes up until the Mazda6 diesel makes its way to America. To make up for the delay, they should give us the sexy wagon version too.