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Next generation Mazda MX-5 Miata is getting electrified: Report

The Mazda MX-5 Miata remains one of the most iconic sports cars today and it appears it will get electrification in the future. Citing a report from Japanese outlet Kuruma-news, Motor1 notes that Mazda discussed the future of its iconic roadster. Their source also notes that during Mazda’s recent announcement of its electrification strategy, reporters asked executives about the Miata’s future outright. Predictably, the answers were cagey only hinting that the Miata is part of the electrification strategy. Mazda also wants the existing cars to run on e-fuel to keep them sustainable.

Luckily, Motor1 got the following statement regarding the Mazda MX-5 Miata:

“Mazda is seeking to electrify the MX-5 Miata to have all models feature a form of electrification by 2030. We will work hard to make it a lightweight, affordable, open two-seater sports car to meet the needs of customers.”

So yes, the Miata is getting electrified but even with the above statement from Mazda, we still don’t know to what extent. Mazda’s electrification strategy includes the addition of 13 electrified vehicles globally by 2025 split between five hybrids, five plug-in hybrids, and three battery-electric vehicles. By 2030, Mazda’s lineup will be completely electrified with 25 percent of that consisting of EVs.

Mazda wants to bring the Miata into the future with electrification; however, keeping it lightweight and affordable will be a challenge. Batteries are heavy and that may contribute a significant amount of weight to the vehicle. Additionally, an electric motor’s instant power delivery can change a car’s character. However, if we were making an educated guess, a hybrid is the most logical choice for the moment.

Should that be the case, expect the Miata could get a parallel hybrid setup with an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission. Due to its longitudinal configuration and front midship layout, this may be the most advantageous (and less costly). The lithium-ion battery could be placed under the floor, likely below where the roof stows. Should it be a conventional self-charging hybrid, the weight gain could be minimized by using a smaller, more compact battery.

Going hybrid may result in a downsized engine, meaning the 2.0-liter four-cylinder could go away in favor of the high-revving 1.5-liter. The latter is currently rated for 129 hp and 111 lb-ft of torque. Together with an electric motor, that could bring power up to the levels of the current 2.0-liter-equipped car, which is rated at 181 hp and 151 lb-ft. However, it’s also possible that the 2.0-liter could remain. If that’s the case, the addition of an electric motor could give it a significant power boost over the current car while improving fuel economy. This could operate similar to the Honda CR-Z, only this time with a more powerful electric motor and rear-drive configuration.

The current ND Miata platform will likely carry over but not without extensive upgrades. It may get more reinforcements so that it’s rigid enough to accommodate the battery. To keep the Miata’s ethos alive, it’ll likely retain the six-speed manual transmission while an automatic should be available as an option. The current ND Mazda MX-5 Miata has been on sale since 2015 and if the timeline is correct, the fifth generation, likely dubbed the NE, should arrive sometime between 2024 and 2025. Mazda’s first electrified vehicle in the U.S. will be the MX-30, which is launching this year.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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