Mazda announced some big electrification plans last week, and one big question on enthusiasts’ minds is what that means for the beloved Miata. It’s the last of its kind on the market, a pure sports car in the traditional roadster vein. Adding electrification hardware will increase weight, but lightness — and the driving dynamics that stem from that — has always been a key part of that pure sports car philosophy.
According to Japanese site Kuruma News, Mazda plans to electrify its entire lineup by 2030, but that doesn’t necessarily mean EVs across the board. As we reported last week, Mazda is aiming to have 25 percent of its lineup deriving their power from batteries only. That leaves 75 percent with some kind of gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain.
Meanwhile, Motor1 has obtained a statement from Mazda saying that “it is seeking to electrify the MX-5 Miata in an effort to have all models feature a form of electrification by 2030.” It seems that the work is still in its early stages, as Mazda added to the statement, “We will work hard to make it a lightweight, affordable, open two-seater sports car.”
We’ve suspected for some time that Mazda is planning a hybrid Miata, so given Mazda’s commitment to keep the Miata light, a full-on battery electric seems unlikely. If we had to guess, a 48-volt mild hybrid system, shared with Mazda’s upcoming rear-drive sedan and crossover, seems the most likely possibility.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the next Miata will take this form. Miatas tend to have a lifespan of 10 years, and with the current ND generation having debuted in 2015, that still leaves room for a next-generation Miata sometime mid-decade.
In addition, Kuruma News reported that Mazda reaffirmed its pursuit of synthetic fuel research in order to serve owners of classic Mazdas. These so-called eFuels are human-made, burn significantly cleaner than fossil fuels, and can be used in existing ICE cars with no modification.
Regardless of what form future Miatas take, Mazda seems dedicated to providing Miata owners a long future of driving joy. Now let’s see if they can pull it off.