Mazda’s elec­tric car plans with Toy­ota takes mar­ket by sur­prise

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

MAZDA made two im­por­tant an­nounce­ment this week.

The first is a fac­tory to build elec­tric cars in the U.S. with Toy­ota.

The sec­ond an­nounce­ment is the Sky­ac­tiv-X en­gine, billed as “the world’s first com­mer­cial petrol en­gine to use com­pres­sion ig­ni­tion”.

Mazda Motor Cor­po­ra­tion said the new en­gine is part of its tech­nol­ogy devel­op­ment that looks ahead to the year 2030.

Toy­ota Motor Corp said on Fri­day it planned to take a five per­cent share of smaller Ja­panese ri­val Mazda Motor Corp, as part of an al­liance that will see the two build a $1.6 bil­lion U.S. assem­bly plant and work to­gether on elec­tric ve­hi­cles. Mazda will in turn get a 0,% share of Toy­ota.

Toy­ota is also court­ing com­pact car maker Suzuki Motor Corp to co-op­er­ate on R&D and parts sup­ply, as Toy­ota seeks to tap its smaller ri­val’s ex­per­tise in emerg­ing Asian mar­kets.

Reuters re­ported the Toy­otaMazda elec­tric ve­hi­cle plant was a sur­prise for in­vestors at a time of cool­ing U.S. sales.

As part of the agree­ment, as well as elec­tric car tech­nol­ogy, Toy­ota and Mazda will work to­gether to de­velop in-car in­for­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies and au­to­mated driv­ing func­tions.

The plant, whose lo­ca­tion is not yet pub­lic, will be able to pro­duce 300 000 ve­hi­cles a year, with pro­duc­tion di­vided be­tween the two au­tomak­ers, and em­ploy about 4 000 peo­ple. It will start op­er­at­ing in 2021.

Toy­ota has set a goal for all of its ve­hi­cles to be zero emis­sion by 2050.

Other tra­di­tional au­tomak­ers such as Daim­ler and BMW are also weigh­ing how best to work on new, dis­rup­tive tech­nol­ogy, from elec­tric ve­hi­cles to au­ton­o­mous driv­ing

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