More automakers are partnering in preparation for an electric car future. Mazda and Toyota are next, joining with Denso Corporation to form a new company that will develop electric vehicle technologies.
The deal, announced today, comes about a month after Toyota said it would take a 5 percent stake in Mazda and that the two would pursue electric vehicles and necessary research and development, along with other automotive strategies together. The new company is called EV Common Architecture Spirit Co Ltd., and Toyota will own 90 percent, while Mazda and Denso will each have a 5 percent share. Vehicles produced through the new company will also use Toyota’s modular platform architecture that’s being used in models such as the Prius and 2018 Camry. Everything from small cars to SUVs are planned, according to the news release.
While Toyota has been a gas-electric hybrid pioneer for two decades now, one of the world’s largest automakers has been surpassed by smaller rivals introducing fully electric vehicles for mass production. Its plug-in hybrid Prius Prime has just 22 miles of range on a full charge, roughly half of a Chevrolet Volt’s electric-only range.
Mazda has also pledged an allegiance to the internal combustion engine with its SkyActiv-X gasoline engines — promising diesel-like fuel economy with significantly reduced emissions — set to appear in their production cars over the next few years. But it needs a plug-in to comply with California’s zero-emissions vehicle mandate, as well as looming federal fuel economy average target. Mazda has said it will start selling an electric vehicle of some kind in 2019.
With major automakers pledging to make all of their cars electric in some form, and unlikely companies trying to get in the EV game, Mazda and Toyota’s new company is a likely pairing of two car firms that need to make up for lost time in this automotive field.