If we have to make a very short description of the Mazda MX-5, we’d probably say it is one of the last remaining old-school cars still on sale today. It seems that even the Japanese automaker is now looking into the future of the roadster though, as a new report indicates that Mazda is contemplating the idea of electrifying the four-wheeled legend.
Kato Matsue, the powertrain development boss at Mazda, shared insights into Mazda’s electrified future with TopGear. The publication seized the opportunity to explore the possibility of an electric MX-5 with Matsue. In response, Matsue stated, "That's a possibility. The MX-5's main markets are the United States, Europe, and Japan. Japan is a bit behind, but the market demand is changing towards electrification. So we need to think about that."
Gallery: 2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata (JDM)
He further explained: "By 2030, all our products will have some electrification. So that means the sports car is not outside of that scope. But I can't say exactly when we'll introduce a battery on the MX-5 at this moment."
One cannot ignore the fundamental Mazda philosophy, Jinba Ittai, TopGear elaborates, which emphasises the perfect harmony between horse and rider. It's a concept that seemingly contradicts the industry's ongoing shift towards heavier lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles. Matsue seems to be worried, too.
"Thinking about our development duration [until 2030], seven years is a short time. I don't expect power density to become two or three times [better] compared to the current power density. Of course, I expect better, but I don't think that will happen. We don't want to have a very heavy MX-5. So if the MX-5 is 1.5 tonnes of peak weight, that is not the MX-5."
It’s worth pointing out that Mazda currently has one of the most conservative approaches toward electrification in the automotive industry. The brand’s only battery-powered model is the MX-30, and it follows its own philosophy that is different from most other EVs. It seems that the focus will remain on hybrid vehicles as Matsue uses the word electrified instead of electric when speaking about the MX-5.
The current MX-5, now in its fourth generation, remains as popular as ever. A total of 7,569 units have been delivered to customers in the United States so far in 2023, which represents a major increase over last year's results. Another facelift is reportedly on the horizon, possibly extending the fourth-gen MX-5's lifespan beyond 10 years.
If Mazda gives the production green light for an electric version of the roadster, the current model in a refreshed form will most likely fill the gap until the zero emissions version arrives. The manufacturer has also recently announced its focus on the MX-5 at the Japan Mobility Show, formerly known as the Tokyo Motor Show, teasing a mysterious MX-5 concept just a few days ago.