Mazda often zigs where the rest of the automotive world zags, and a new Mazda hybrid prototype could become reality in the near future.
The new Mazda hybrid plan, which comes from a patent filed in June 2021 but only recently published, describes an entirely new way to power the electrical system of a hybrid car. For now, we’re pretty sure Mazda is heading back to the drawing board for fully electric vehicles, but the brand is pouring resources into hybrid tech, especially with the new PHEVs heading to market in 2024. Could this new alternative to traditional hybrid driving make Mazda more exciting?
The next MX-5 Miata might have this new hybrid package
Although Mazda continues to build SUVs and passenger cars, most of us think of this brand and instantly picture the Miata roadster. Since it first arrived in the market, the Miata has captured our attention and taken our imagination to places never thought of before. Mazda didn’t build this roadster to be a high-powered, exotic machine but rather an attainable sports car with incredible balance and the right build to handle any road.
The new hybrid system being proposed could be perfect for this little two-seat roadster.
What is the new Mazda hybrid plan
The details of the most recent patent describe a hybrid drive system using a rotary-powered single-row vehicle. The hybrid powertrain utilizes an interesting power system with a bank of swappable batteries positioned directly behind the driver. These swappable batteries could boost the driving range while maintaining a lightweight build for this incredible car. The basic setup brings the rotary engine, which we’ve seen in the RX series of Mazda sports cars, while also offering three electric motors. This is a system that Mazda has been working on for a while and might finally be close to completing.
The three electric motors provide power to the wheels. One motor delivers 25 kW, which equates to 34 horsepower, and is mounted on the rear of the engine. The other two motors are on each of the front wheel axles and add 17 kW or 28 horsepower to the wheels. These figures are relatively small for a reason. These motors are driven by a bank of four battery modules, all of which are under 60 volts. The low voltage makes them safe to handle and swap out, which could add more power to this car and increase the driving range when a second set of batteries is available.
How can this system improve hybrid driving?
In addition to offering more electric driving range with fully charged batteries swapped in for depleted batteries, the configuration could increase power to the wheels. A power inverter can boost the power in three stages, which increases the motor speeds. This occurs even though the batteries are relatively small.
At this point, some driving enthusiasts might consider removing all of the batteries, expecting this to change the car into a gas-only vehicle, but that won’t happen. This new Mazda hybrid system also covers the two included boost converters that will be in the car at all times and cannot be removed or replaced.
Overall, this gives a new Mazda hybrid system three stages of power with different speed elements, which could be extremely exciting.
How much could these batteries increase vehicle weight?
It’s no secret that battery packs can be heavy. Electric vehicles use massive batteries with incredible densities and weight. These batteries aren’t removable and certainly can’t be lifted or handled by the average person. This new Mazda patent describes a set of batteries with between 48 and 96 volts each that could weigh around 15 pounds apiece. This means a total vehicle weight increase of roughly 60 pounds for the four-battery system.
How does this three-stage system increase driving pleasure?
Every vehicle using some form of electrification has nearly instant torque delivery, but that acceleration falls off at high speeds. Combustion engines can maintain acceleration and continue to drive faster at higher speeds. The second type of electric power in this system improves the overall power curve to a much more exciting figure than what you find in any other hybrid car.
This new Mazda hybrid plan could deliver power to the wheels in a new way that could be extremely exciting for the future. The only question left is whether or not Mazda can actually get this hybrid system into production to provide a more exciting drive from a brand that already offers incredible balance and performance on any road.
Could this be the new way we achieve the “zoom zoom” feeling in future Mazda vehicles?
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