Mazda SVP Believes in Future of Internal Combustion
Gas and Diesel Can Be Competitive With Electric
One auto executive believes the future has room for low-emissions internal combustion engines in addition to electric vehicles.
Robert Davis, Mazda’s SVP in charge of special assignments for North America, spoke at a seminar Tuesday to refute regulatory claims that internal combustion vehicles are living on borrowed time. As such, the automaker is investing its money and research into ways to make its Skyactiv engine lineup cleaner and more efficient, according to WardsAuto.
In a forum discussion, Davis was critical of the way electric vehicles were brought to market through incentives. As reported by Automotive News, Davis postulated that if the $7,500 EV tax credit were taken away and the government EV mandates relaxed, the free market would lead consumers and manufacturers to develop the most appropriate way to meet emissions goals.
Davis also stressed that electric propulsion isn’t actually a zero-emissions proposition, calling it “remote emissions or displaced emissions.” The exec may have been referring to the grid used to charge EVs, which in some parts of the U.S. comes from high-polluting or inefficient power generation plants. In those areas, driving an electric vehicle can actually have a negative net effect on carbon emissions compared to driving a conventional vehicle.
Davis suggested a fuel-agnostic approach, where regulatory bodies and manufacturers agree on a common efficiency/emissions target without mandating a specific energy source. Through that target, manufacturers could develop new technologies on a variety of propulsion systems (gas, diesel, electric, or even hydrogen), and consumers could select the most cost-effective and appropriate option for themselves.
For its part, Mazda remains committed to building a lineup full of low-emissions vehicles, according to Davis. “We all breathe the same air, and it makes the most sense for every car to be as efficient as it can be,” Davis said, as quoted by Automotive News. “Making a couple of superefficient models to offset others doesn’t really make sense to us at Mazda.”