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Mazda charging for change

 
Created on 03/08/2021 @ 20:59


Mazda charging for change by Steve Rogers

Whatever your views on air pollution and the switch to electric cars we are on a journey into the unknown.

The big switch to electric is scheduled for 2030 but some motoring industry insiders are sceptical that the UK will be ready, leaving us with more questions than answers. 

Will there be enough charging stations, how will people living in terraced houses, let alone high rise flats, charge an electric car? 

How are the tens of thousands running motability vehicles going to cope with the higher cost of electric cars? How will we get rid of the 40 million ICE (that is the buzz word for the internal combustion engine) vehicles on our roads and what about the batteries that will have to be binned?

Or is there a different route? Mazda's UK boss Jeremy Thomson revealed what is going on behind the scenes both in Europe and Japan to create carbon free synthetic petrol and diesel products without the cost of changing to electric. 

At a driving day to showcase updates to the Mazda range Thomson told me that although committed to becoming carbon free, the company was not giving up on the internal combustion engine which will still power the majority of its cars through 2030.

He said: "We remain committed to creating the ideal internal combustion engine and are getting closer to that perfect engine in terms of emissions and efficiency. Synthetic or renewable carbon neutral light fuel that can replace carbon-based fuel is the way forward."

Mazda has only one electric model, the MX-30, but that is set to change with three electric, five hybrid and five plug-in hybrids being rolled out over the next four years.

Like the rest of the car world Mazda is recovering from the catastrophic pandemic and is relieved at a 55 per cent rise in post Covid sales against an industry average of 39 per cent.

Updates to the model range this year centre around boosting the Skyactiv petrol engines, improving infotainment and connected services and pumping out special editions of old favourites to keep the kettle boiling.

The biggest name in Mazda is the ubiquitous MX-5 roadster but has this got a future in the brave new electrical world, or is it sitting on death row?

Jeremy Thomson was giving little away but said: "The car is central to the Mazda brand and remains one of our best-known lines, so of course it will need to evolve but always retain that amazing fun to drive feeling."

Even after 30 odd years the MX-5 reigns supreme as far as wind in the hair motoring goes. The car is an out and out gem and to keep interest alive a Sport Venture special has been introduced with nappa leather interior, sliver door mirrors and silver roll hoops.

In terms of horsepower 130 doesn't sound a lot but with its high revving engine in such a light body the roadster is plenty quick enough. Mazda has perfected the opening mechanism and the soft top can be opened or closed in around five seconds.

The car's infotainment unit, operated via a rotary controller between the seats, has always been easy to use but needs to be brought in line with the faster system on CX-30 and CX-5.

My top Mazda is CX-30 which is a bulked up Mazda3 but because of its sleek design looks nothing like the sports utilities cum crossovers it competes against. As the newest ICE model it gets the upgraded e-Skyactiv X engine that has lower engine emissions, a boost in horse power and economy along with the upgraded infotainment system with its larger screen, faster response, connected services, and it still has a rotary controller. Hooray!.

Unlike Toyota and Honda who have dropped diesel in favour of petrol hybrids for Rav4 and CR-V SUVs, Mazda is sticking with a diesel option for CX-5 which will please caravan owners who are wondering where to turn after 2030. 

The model also gets the flagship 190bhp 2.5 litre Skyactiv-G engine until now only available in the Mazda6. 

On the safety front Mazda will next year reveal an autonomous driving system that will monitor the driver and take control if the driver falls asleep or is incapacitated, park in a safe place and make an emergency call.

Fast Facts

MX-5 Sport

£26,355 (starts £24,055)

2-litre petrol; 130bhp

0-62mph 8.3secs; 127mph

44.8mpg combined

142g/km. 1st VED £215

Insurance group 27

Boot 130 litres

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