Mazda says zero-emission claim of electric vehicles doesn’t tell whole truth

By Darren Cassey

Mazda has hit out at regulations allowing electric vehicle emissions to be put at zero, saying they don’t tell the full story as most electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels.

Instead of the traditional ‘tank-to-wheel’ evaluations, which only read emissions while driving, the Japanese car manufacturer has started using ‘well-to-wheel’ figures that take into account fuel extraction, manufacturing and shipping.

Mazda says its new ‘compression ignition’ petrol engine, which uses characteristics of diesel engines to improve fuel economy, offers fewer emissions over the life of the vehicle than an electric vehicle.

The Japanese car manufacturer says a mid-sized electric vehicle that isn’t charged with electricity produced from renewable sources emits about 128g/km of CO2, depending on the power generation source. Meanwhile, Mazda’s Skyactiv-X engines emit 142g/km – just 10 per cent more.


While many other firms have invested heavily in electrified technology, Mazda has been bullish about the future of the internal combustion engine.

However, it hasn’t completely disregarded electric vehicle technology, with all-electric and petrol-electric hybrid powertrains due to enter the range in 2019, while a plug-in hybrid is expected by 2025.

Speaking to the Press Association recently, Mazda Europe chief executive Jeffrey Guyton said: “It’s not the right time for electric to save the world.

“There are geographies where we need an electric vehicle, though, and where tax incentives push people to have them, or regulation requires them.

“There’s a lot of CO2 that gets liberated when you create a battery, the energy it takes to make the battery. If it’s a big one, the energy is huge, and payback only takes place over many years if the car is charged sustainably.”

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