Mazda is not exactly leading the charge in the automotive industry’s transition to electric vehicles. The Japanese automaker has a lot of catching up to do when you compare it to its competitors like Tesla, Ford, Hyundai, and Toyota. Mazda just isn’t big enough to throw around the kind of money it takes to “zoom-zoom” in to the EV future as fast as everyone else. To its credit, the 2022 Mazda MX-30 is currently on the market as the brand’s first BEV. Although the MX-30’s 100-mile range is unimpressive to say the least. But things could improve with the next-gen Mazda 3 if these new patents are any indication of what’s to come.
Just because Mazda might be behind in the EV space doesn’t mean it’s not moving forward at all. The upcoming Mazda CX-90 is going to be the automaker’s first PHEV and it’s due out fairly soon with the reveal coming in January 2023. Mazda has also revealed its plans to have 40 percent of all its vehicle sales be BEVs by 2030. Evidence of that plan is already starting to surface. The Drive uncovered a patent application filed by Mazda which appears to reveal its take on the “skateboard” style chassis commonly used by EVs.
At first glance, the patent describes a typical compact sedan chassis not dissimilar to the current Mazda 3, but upon closer inspection and digging through the patent description, it becomes clear that this is meant to be the underpinnings for a future BEV. As The Drive points out, the “skateboard” platform layout showcases a remarkably thin battery pack compared to vehicles currently on the market that could indicate next-gen battery technology, like solid-state batteries.
There is a possibility that what we see in these patent drawings is an early look at the 3’s next iteration. Whatever it becomes, it appears that the EV will have a single electric motor for propulsion in the front, at least as outlined in the provided illustrations. We don’t think that necessarily dashes any hope of a rear drive or all-wheel-drive version of this vehicle, as the description notes that the motor can be placed in different layouts.
Whatever the layout, this EV could potentially be one of the most important cars that Mazda ever produces. If it can provide a low-cost, accessible EV with range that rivals that of a Chevrolet Bolt EV or EUV, or a Kia Niro EV, then it may be the boost it needs to start tackling the bigger dogs. We’ll see how long it takes for this new vehicle to show up in some form again, if it ever does.
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