Mazda Australia boss Vinesh Bhindi explains why the Japanese brand is introducing large-capacity internal combustion engines while the rest of automotive is bringing in electric vehicles.
Mazda will continue to offer a broad array of petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric option for the foreseeable future, as alternative manufacturers – and jurisdictions, particularly in Europe – continue to draw lines in the sand for the internal combustion engine.
The Japanese manufacturer is keen to keep a choice available for its customers, especially for markets in which electric vehicle charging infrastructure and government incentives are harder to come by.
Speaking to Drive at the international launch of the plug-in hybrid Mazda CX-60, Mazda Australia chief executive Vinesh Bhindi said “different markets have got a different position on alternative drivetrains, whether they be EV [all-electric] or whatever else.”
“The government of the moment is talking about net zero 2050… where we are as a country in terms of infrastructure [as well] tells me that in Australia the internal combustion engine – like in many other parts of the world – still has a way to go.”
“Some very specific countries have said to [car makers] that you won’t be able to sell an internal combustion engine (ICE) in their market. And I can understand that because they’re doing it for their resource advantage. But I think that Australia is in a different place and there are many other parts of the world that are going to be different.
“So we intend to offer those drivetrains as long as there’s demand and there is ability to sell those within Australia. And Mazda has the same approach in other parts of the world to say we’ll have multiple solutions whether they be ICE, EVs [electric vehicles]hybrids, rotary range extenders, etc.
Mazda’s product plans suggest by 2025 it intends to introduce five hybrid vehicles, five plug-in hybrids, and three full electric cars. Beyond that, Mazda will focus on scalable EV architecture to lead it toward the next decade.
The company plans for 25 per cent of its sales to be fully electric by 2030 – a contrast to brands such as Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, which have committed to going electric-only in certain regions by the same deadline.
From the new electric architecture, “there is a plan of many products, many drivetrains, as opposed to taking a position to say this is the date everything changes from ‘this’ to ‘that’” according to Bhindi.
It explains the introduction of Mazda’s two latest engines – a 3.3-litre inline-six diesel and 3.0-litre inline-six petrol – which seem to come at odds with the rest of the automotive world’s commitments, which has scaled back development of all- new internal combustion engine families.
Asked whether Mazda will commence development of more brand-new engines beyond the two inline-sixes mentioned, Mr Bhindi said to “never say never”.