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Mazda NA CEO: 2021 CAFE Standards Attainable, 2025 Standards and ZEV Mandate Pose Challenges

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Masahiro Moro

Mazda North American Operations CEO Masahiro Moro: Zero-emission vehicle mandate “the biggest regulatory headache”

Masahiro Moro, CEO of Mazda North American Operations, told Automotive News last week that the automaker has the utmost confidence in its ability to meet or surpass the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard of a combined fleet-wide fuel economy of 40.3-41 mpg by 2021. He surmised, however, that the 2025 standard of 54.5 mpg will be more difficult to meet without embracing some sort of electrification plan.

“For 2021, we are very confident we will meet the CAFE standards,” Moro said. “2025 is another story because the requirement level is very, very high.”

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Mazda has expressed very little interest in building hybrid or EV vehicles, relying instead on its SKYACTIV technology for improved efficiency. And it has worked to this point: even without a single hybrid available in the United States, Mazda became the first non-electric full-line automaker to achieve the 2016 CAFE standard of a 34.1 mpg fleet average.

The second generation of SKYACTIV is set to launch next year, and Moro confirms that it will employ the “very difficult and delicate technology” of homogenous-charge compression ignition, which pulls greater efficiency from petrol engines by replicating the compression method used in diesel engines. Earlier this week, Moro told reporters that the automaker is not likely to bring diesel engines to the US market any time in the near future.

But even with the possibility that those 2025 CAFE standards will be relaxed from the original 54.5 mpg goal, Mazda must still contend with the mandate that will require 15% of all new vehicles sold by 2025 to be zero-emission. While Moro calls it “the biggest regulatory headache,” Mazda at least has plenty of time to develop and perfect that technology before being required to bring it to market.

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News Source: Automotive News (subscription required)