Mazda: 'We don't need hybrids'

* Firm says it can beat EU targets with petrol and diesel * 30% cuts in CO2 emissions with regular engines * Hybrid and electric cars for specific markets only...

Mazda: 'We don't need hybrids'

Mazda is staking its future firmly on petrol and diesel power, claiming it doesn’t need to rely on hybrids or plug-in cars to meet tough CO2 emissions targets set by the European Commission.

Under European legislation, by 2020, car makers’ fleet averages must not exceed a maximum limit of 95g/km CO2. With Mazda posting 142g/km in 2012, its challenge is to cut emissions by some 30% over the next seven years.

The manufacturer, which reversed a loss of around £239 million in 2012 to post profits of £333 million in 2013, believes the traditional combustion engine has a lot more to give, and it plans to squeeze out every last drop of that potential.

‘Even with today’s most efficient petrol engines, up to 65% of the fuel is wasted, so that’s an enormous opportunity for improvement,’ Jeffrey Guyton, managing executive officer, Mazda Motor Corporation and president and CEO of Mazda Motor Europe, told What Car?. ‘We’re already doing that with our latest generation of Skyactiv engines. Right now, the Mazda 6, for example, emits just 104g/km CO2.’

Although Mazda is investing in alternative power sources, these are intended for specific markets. The new Mazda 3 Hybrid, for example, is available only in Japan, while an electric range extender is currently being developed for the US where, in California, manufacturers must offer at least one electric car by 2018. There are currently no plans to bring either to the UK.

To meet its wider obligations, Mazda says it has another, more effective trick up its sleeve – HCCI (Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition) engine technology, which doesn’t require a spark to ignite the fuel-air mix, and so burns up to 30% less fuel while also releasing fewer emissions.

Development, the manufacturer reports, is under way, and it plans to bring HCCI-powered cars to the market in time to meet the EU’s 95g/km CO2 deadline in 2020.