Mazda May Offer Plug-In Hybrids, Electric Cars

By dancurranjr On December 7th, 2010

Mazda will look to grow its offering of ‘green’ cars with the announcement that it is considering offering both plug-in hybrid models and electric cars in the future. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi said both types of vehicles are currently being studied by the Japanese automaker.

It’s not yet clear if Mazda intends to develop its own powertrain systems for these vehicles or if it will find a suitable partner in the auto industry. Mazda still has a close relationship with Ford, even though the Blue Oval is no longer a majority shareholder in Mazda.

Another likely possibility is a tie-up with Toyota, which will provide the powertrains for a new line of hybrid models that Mazda is set to bring to market in 2013.

SOURCE: AutoGuide

Mazda Picks Diesel over Hybrid

By dancurranjr On April 13th, 2009

2010-madza3-mpA while back we informed you that Mazda had no intentions of bringing a hybrid to the U.S. market, surprisingly, that info has not changed.  Instead of hybrids, Mazda announced that they will bring a diesel to the U.S. market.  What is Mazda thinking?

Mazda’s senior vice president of research and development Robert Davis has this to say of hybrids, “When you’re talking about 100,000 units in the U.S., it’s difficult to bring that technology over and make it business viable.”

Ford Motor Company has a small stake in Mazda, and Mazda would be able to borrow technology from Ford to make a hybrid vehicle.  Instead Mazda opts for diesel which sells in extremely low numbers in the U.S.

Would be diesel buyers still remember the racket, clouds of smoke, and stench of diesels made in the U.S. two decades ago and are unlikely to forget it anytime soon.

Mazda’s plans are quite shocking as most other automakers have put diesel plans for the U.S. market on hold to focus instead of hybrids and electric vehicles.

Automakers who have cancelled plans for diesels in the past year include Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Acura, Nissan, Toyota, and in light trucks GM and Ford.

Only time will tell if Mazda is indeed making the right move.

SOURCE: All Cars Electric

Mazda Starts Leasing Hydrogen Hybrid Mini-Van

By dancurranjr On April 4th, 2009

mazda-h2-hybrogen-hybrid-minivan-premacyTo further its research into new powertrain technology, Mazda began leasing a series hybrid vehicle with a hydrogen-fueled range extending engine to energy companies and local governments. This type of test leasing helps automakers gain useful data on how cars operate in a controlled setting, and ensures that the vehicles’ drivers have hydrogen filling stations available.

Although the powertrain configuration is similar to that of the Chevrolet Volt, a series hybrid using an electric motor to power the wheels and a range-extending engine to generate electricity, Mazda puts its own twist on the system, with a hydrogen-burning rotary engine as a range extender. Mazda previously developed an RX-8 using a rotary engine that burned hydrogen, calling it the RX-8 Hydrogen RE. BMW has also explored burning hydrogen in an internal combustion engine with the Hydrogen 7.

Mazda’s new vehicle is called the Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid, and is built on the five passenger Premacy platform. It has a 110 kilowatt motor to turn the wheels, which gets juice from a lithium ion battery pack. When the battery runs low, the rotary engine kicks in to generate electricity, drawing hydrogen from a 5,000 PSI tank. As configured, the Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid gets a range of 125 miles.

The car includes a dual fuel system, making it possible to use gasoline if no hydrogen is available.

SOURCE: CarTech

Mazda to Battle Hybrids with Engine Improvements

By dancurranjr On April 3rd, 2009

mazda-h2-hybrogen-hybrid-minivan-premacyMazda Motor Corp said on Thursday it expected to develop a diesel engine that was cheaper and about as fuel-efficient as some hybrid cars by 2011 as part of its efforts to improve mileage without the aid of costly electric systems.

The Hiroshima-based automaker has set a target of raising its global car fleet’s fuel economy by 30 percent by 2015, and plans to rely on advances in internal combustion engines, automatic transmissions and vehicle weight reduction to reach that goal.

As one pillar of that plan, Mazda is working on a clean diesel engine with a displacement of about 2.0 liters that would be as fuel-efficient as a 660cc gasoline microcar and a “mild” hybrid car, Mazda’s head of research and development said.

“We believe that improving today’s conventional engines at a low cost is the most effective way to get fuel-efficient cars to proliferate,” R&D Chief Seita Kanai told reporters in Tokyo.

Gasoline-electric hybrid cars are gaining popularity but still carry a premium over conventional gasoline and diesel cars.

Hybrid proponents such as Toyota Motor Corp have argued that tighter emissions regulations in future would mean that cleaning the exhaust from diesel engines could cost as much as or more than gasoline-electric hybrid technology.

But Kanai said Mazda’s new diesel engine would cost less, not more, partly due to its proprietary single-nanotechnology, which reduces the use of precious metals in emission-cleaning catalysts, and a new diesel particulate filter that negates the need for expensive after-treatment parts.

Mazda also plans to reduce the weight of new models in and after 2011 by more than 100 kg (220 lb), or about a tenth of an average car, and by another 10 percent or more after 2016. This would also be achieved at lower cost, Kanai said.

“The norm in the industry is to ‘buy’ weight reduction at a cost, but we won’t do that,” he said.

Kanai said Mazda would begin mounting electric devices such as an electric motor in a hybrid car during the second stage of mileage improvements between 2015 to 2020, when global emissions and mileage standards would likely require their use.

He declined to say whether Mazda would share its advanced that the partners would continue to work together on any project that reaped benefits on both sides.

SOURCE: Reuters