TOKYO – Electric vehicle laggard Mazda Motor Corp. will plow 1.5 trillion yen (US$10.6 billion) into electrification through 2030 with a string of new partnerships targeting everything from batteries and motors to computer chips in an attempt to catch up in global race for new technologies.
The plan could include EV production in the U.S. as early as 2026-2027, the second phase of the company’s just-updated mid-term business plan, CEO Akira Marumoto said.
Under the strategy, Mazda will partner with Envision AESC Group, a Chinese-owned battery maker that also has investments from Nissan Motor Co.
Another tie up on tap is a semiconductor partnership with Japanese electronics group Rohm Co. for advanced inverter chips.
Marumoto unveiled the new direction in a revised mid-term plan on Tuesday, conceding his small-sized automaker now envisions hotter EV demand than it earlier imagined.
Mazda now expects EVs to comprise between 25 per cent to 40 per cent of its global sales in 2030. That is up from Mazda’s early outlook of EVs accounting for just a quarter of all volume. The roll out ramps up from 2028 with the major push of battery electrics.
“Up to 2030, we will undertake a full-fledged launch of battery EVs,” Marumoto said, adding that the shift will include EV introductions in China and other global markets.
Mazda is also considering U.S. production of electric vehicles in this timeframe, Marumoto said. It is studying the requirements set forth by the recently introduced Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, to see how it can qualify for the EV tax credits afforded makers of domestically produced EVs.
“North America is the most important market for us,” Marumoto said. “There are still some unclear things about the IRA, and we need to have a better understanding of it.”
Added Marumoto: “Given the importance of the market, we hope to manufacture EVs in North America at some point. But at the moment, we are thinking of the possibility in the second half of the phase 2.”
That time frame would put it in the latter half of Mazda’s 2025-2027 phase two.
Marumoto noted that Mazda already plans to produce a hybrid version of its CX-50 crossover at the company’s new assembly plant in Alabama, which is jointly run with Toyota Motor Corp.