2012 Mazda 3: My Kind of Clean Tech
January 27, 2012
You may have read by now that good ol' California has once again decided that its citizens should drive cleaner cars, specifically those of the electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen variety. A new mandate dictates that 15.4% of all new cars sold in the state must be electric, fuel-cell or plug-in hybrid by 2025.
Most manufactures have supported the measure, largely because most of them have enough products in the pipeline to meet the requirement. That, and there always seems to be a way around it if you don't.
This may look good to the legislators on the California Air Resources Board (CARB), but I prefer the road that Mazda has taken toward improved fuel efficiency. It's far less extreme, but it's also far more palatable to the average consumer. Instead of far reaching technology that requires an all-new infrastructure, Mazda's Skyactiv philosophy merely builds on what's already there. More fuel efficient combustion engines, transmissions that make the best use of those engine and eventually chassis designs that reduce the weight the powertrains have to carry around.
Our Mazda 3 long-termer has a Skyactiv drivetrain already and you would hardly know that it's significantly cleaner and more efficient that a previous Mazda 3. Doesn't cost extra either. Forcing automakers to build cleaner cars is one thing, but you can't force consumers to buy them. Should be interesting to see how it all works out over the next decade or so.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line