Mazda to focus on clean-diesels and weight reduction, says no to hybrids

In a meeting with reporters in Tokyo, Mazda Motor Corp said today that it is working on a diesel engine that is cheaper and will offer the same fuel-efficiency as hybrid cars. The engine is scheduled to debut in 2011. The company’s R&D Chief Seita Kanai said that Mazda has a target of raising its global fleet’s fuel-economy by 30 percent by 2015.

Instead of relying on expensive hybrid electric systems, Kanai said that Mazda will focus on clean diesels, advances in internal combustion engines, automatic transmissions and weight reduction methods.

Kanai said that Mazda is currently working on a 2.0L clean diesel engine that will be as fuel-efficient as a 660cc gasoline minicar or a “mild” hybrid car. He said that Mazda is also working on ways to cut the weight of new models after 2011 by more than 220 lb.

While hybrid lovers like Toyota argue that emissions regulations in the future would require costly development of diesel engines, Kanai says that Mazda’s new diesel engine would cost less. As for costs in reducing the weight of their cars, Kanai said that the “norm in the industry is to ‘buy’ weight reduction at a cost, but we won’t do that.”

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Reuters