If you are a carmaker, you need to have a hybrid and maybe even a plugin in the program, or at least on the schedule – whether your heart is in it or not. Even avowed petrol (and diesel) heads such as BMW and Volkswagen are dabbling with electrified powertrains – officially. Where are the last holdouts? In hybrid-country Japan.
“Mazda and Fuji Heavy are pursuing unique growth strategies as they continue to bank on refinements to the international combustion engine, in stark contrast with larger automakers that are rushing to roll out hybrid and electric cars,” reports The Nikkei [sub] to an aghast readership.
“Internal combustion engines have yet to reach their limit and there is still room for development,” said Seita Kanai, senior Mazda executive in charge of development. Mazda remains committed to improving traditional engines. Why? Because chasing electrons doesn’t make sense, they say.
“We believe electric vehicles that do not use an engine will likely account for just 5 percent of all cars in 2020,” said Kanai.
Fuji Heavy, maker of Subaru, is not working on batteries, but will commercialize a new flat engine designed for its midsize cars by the end of this year.
Should both need hybrid technology, they just buy it from Toyota. “Given their limited R&D budgets, they find it wiser to target the 95 percent of the market that is non-electric,” says The Nikkei.