Mazda President and CEO Akira Marumoto spoke at length on Tuesday about the company's future, acknowledging a shift towards electrification. It's something all major automakers are facing, and it won't happen without significant investments in new technologies.
For Mazda, the price tag is a whopping $10.6 billion, according to Automotive News. That covers research and manufacturing as well as partnerships with companies on battery development, semiconductors, electric drive units, and more. It won't be an overnight revolution, however. Outlined in a three-phase plan presented by Marumoto, Mazda will initially work on developing technology while streamlining supply chains and cutting costs where applicable. Internal combustion power will remain at Mazda's core through phases one and two, with a large-scale shift to electrification beginning in 2028 with phase three.
In addition, Mazda is taking a more ambitious approach to driver assist and safety systems. The company will work on developing advanced driver tech based on human research, making its vehicles safer for occupants as well as bystanders nearby.
"We aim for no new Mazda to cause a fatal accident that is avoidable with automotive technologies by 2040," said Marumoto during the presentation.
Mazda has trailed most other automakers in the realm of electrification. Presently, the only fully electric Mazda available in the US is the MX-30, and it's only offered for sale in California. The CX-60 was revealed earlier this year as the company's first plug-in hybrid, but it's not offered in the US market.
Marumoto also spoke at length about expanding Mazda's "brand essence" by creating vehicles that are enjoyable to drive. There's no denying the MX-5 is one of the best elemental sports cars of the last 30 years, and at the end of the presentation, Marumoto introduced a video that showed a concept of what could be a future electrified version. However, with Mazda's EV timeline weighted towards the end of the decade, it will likely be at least a few more years before we know exactly what's in store for the MX-5.