Car Industry

Mazda's electric cars won't pack giant batteries for a good reason

Mazda's research shows big batteries aren't kind to the environment.

Smaller batteries make for less C02 production.

Batteries aren't exactly the most Earth-friendly thing to produce when it comes to the planet's resources, but automakers will be ramping up production in the next decade as the industry shifts to make more electric cars. And Mazda isn't yet ready to totally partake.

Instead, the Japanese automaker favors smaller batteries, thus, electric cars that sport shorter ranges due to less energy storage. And the reason is precisely related to the environmental impact batteries have. Autocar reported Monday on comments Mazda Europe's chief of product and engineering, Joachim Kunz, made regarding the firm's battery strategy. The product boss said Mazda has studied carbon dioxide emissions from the start of production, to the end of a car's life.

The research at Mazda showed big-battery EVs included a negative CO2 impact when compared to a traditional diesel-powered vehicle from the automaker. In the end, the diesel vehicle will likely be more efficient when it comes to CO2 production across the car's lifetime. The research Kunz cited mentioned a 95 kilowatt-hour battery pack. In comparison, Mazda's cutesy MX-30 electric car sports a 35-kWh battery pack. Mazda USA didn't immediately respond when asked for more information on the battery strategy.

This battery energy figure, according to Kunz, produced CO2 savings at 50,000 miles compared to a diesel vehicle from the company. Part of Mazda's secret sauce is more range per kWh of energy, too. With 35 kWh, the MX-30 should go 130 miles. That's pretty low compared to other affordable EVs on sale today like the Nissan Leaf (up to 226 miles) and the Chevy Bolt EV (259 miles).

While it's not yet official whether the MX-30 will make its way to the US, a range-extending engine will likely be on the menu if it does. This unit will be based on Mazda's rotary engine and will likely give the EV a more useful range for Americans who drive greater distances at a time.

Mazda isn't the only Japanese company taking it easy on EV technology. Honda has widely panned EV adoption and continues to prefer a hybrid strategy, especially for the North American market. All I can say is this new decade is shaping up to be a transformative one.

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