Mazda commits to hybrid technology

Despite recently claiming combustion engines such as petrol and diesel units will continue to dominate the car market in the short-term, Mazda has now confirmed its commitment to hybrid technology.

The agreement between Toyota and Mazda will see the Prius’ hybrid system combined with the Mazda SKY engine for an as yet unnamed next-generation hybrid.

The SKY range is the concept name for a range of cleaner and more frugal engines set for release in Mazda cars from 2011.

The Japanese manufacturer will continue to refine its SKY combustion engines to reduce emissions and weight in the Mazda range as part of plans to improve average fuel economy by 30 per cent before 2015.

However, the new deal will see the manufacturer progressively add electric technology such as idling stop and hybrid systems, including the Prius technology.

Announcing the deal, Toyota said it will continue to work with other companies to develop the technology seen in the Prius, which has sold over 2.3 million units since its introduction in 1997.

European customers will have to wait for the new Mazda hybrid however – Mazda plans to release the model in Japan in 2013 initially, and the manufacturer has not announced a timescale for European sales.