We’re lastly getting an ‘electrified’ Miata in 2026

Mazda has confirmed that the next-generation MX-5 Miata will are available in 2026 and might be “electrified.” Although the automaker stopped wanting saying what degree of electrification that can entail – hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or full electrical.

The affirmation is mild on particulars, although Mazda stated it will work with Rohm Semiconductor to develop electrical motors and with Envision AESC for batteries.

Again in 2019, we reported that Mazda was contemplating electrifying the subsequent Miata. At the moment, it wasn’t clear whether or not it was speaking about absolutely electrical or hybrid – and with this information, it nonetheless isn’t. However we suspect that it’ll in all probability be a standard or plug-in hybrid, quite than absolutely electrical.

Mazda’s branding and R&D chiefs on the time said that the automotive and model wanted to shift in direction of being extra eco-friendly, however that the principle objective of the MX-5 is to stay light-weight, which is a problem with the load of electrical automotive batteries.

Since then, Mazda has said that the Miata would finally be electrified, however now we’ve bought a date: 2026 mannequin 12 months, which implies the automotive will probably be on the street in mid-2025.

The Miata is an exceptionally light-weight automotive – the 2023 MX-5 mannequin has a curb weight of round 2,400lbs. For comparability to some mild EVs, the unique Tesla Roadster, which employed costly and light-weight carbon fiber extensively, weighed ~2,800lbs, and the same Caterham Challenge V idea will weigh ~2,600.

Not solely that, however the Miata is an inexpensive automotive, not only a light-weight one. Each of the aforementioned EVs are priced within the six determine vary, whereas the MX-5 begins for below $30k.

However there are different lower-priced light-weight EVs, like the three,000lb Mini Cooper SE at $30k and the defunct 2,900lb BMW i3 which first began at $42k.

So there’s actually a problem right here, however it’s not unachievable, particularly as EV batteries proceed to enhance in vitality density. With fashionable batteries, a shorter-range, light-weight Miata might be doable.

However regardless, given Mazda’s historical past with electrification, we suspect this might be a hybrid mannequin quite than absolutely electrical.

Mazda has been one of many slowest within the trade to undertake EV expertise. Japanese automakers basically have been laggards on EV tech, and Mazda has the least-ambitious 2030 EV objective within the US. Its first EV, the MX-30, was not an incredible effort, and solely offered 505 vehicles in its preliminary run (it got here again this 12 months, however has solely offered 66 items).

Then again, Mazda has claimed it needs to promote solely EVs and hybrids by 2030, and extra lately, Mazda did pull again the curtain on its EV plans and confirmed a really cool “Imaginative and prescient research” idea, a smooth, low, two-door roadster which regarded prefer it might be the evolution of the Miata:

Whereas that idea is mild on particulars, it clearly seems quite a bit like a Miata, and was launched alongside a dialogue on Mazda’s EV plans, so most thought that it will flip into some type of electrified Miata.

As for the MX-30, one purpose it wasn’t nice is as a result of its clear that the automotive was designed to be a PHEV, and solely made into an EV for compliance with California’s emissions guidelines. The MX-30 finally got here out as a PHEV abroad, and it’d truly be fairly good as a PHEV.

Whereas hybrids and PHEVs are extra complicated than EVs – stuffing two powertrains right into a automotive as an alternative of 1 – the discount in battery weight may end up in decrease total weight for the car however nonetheless give among the advantages of electrification, like partial zero-emission operation (within the case of a PHEV) and faster acceleration from electrical motors (for each hybrids and PHEVs).

So having an electrical motor onboard in any type will certainly assist the Miata’s well-known enjoyable issue, which has all the time been just a little bit held again by its small 2L 4-cylinder engine.

Electrek’s Take

Longtime readers could know that any time Mazda comes up, there’s precisely one factor that we at Electrek need to hear: that the Miata goes electrical. It comes up each time anybody talks about Mazda in our newsroom. And we get loads of feedback right here saying the identical.

So clearly, this comes as nice information to us. We’ve been begging for it for years, and it’s lastly right here (properly… in 2026).

Nonetheless, Mazda is being cagey right here by utilizing the phrase “electrified.” This can be a little bit of a weasel phrase within the automotive trade, to make automaker electrical automotive efforts look extra superior than they’re. PHEVs don’t truly decrease emissions as a lot as they declare, as we’ve seen in a number of research, and standard hybrids nonetheless get 100% of their vitality from gasoline, and thus don’t actually support a complete lot in getting us off of fossil fuels, which is required within the face of local weather change.

We’re positive {that a} hybrid Miata might be extra enjoyable than a fuel model, so long as Mazda doesn’t deliberately sluggish it right down to really feel extra like a fuel automotive… because it did with the MX-30.

However we’re additionally positive {that a} correct all-electric Miata could be much more enjoyable than the hybrid, and easier too as a result of it doesn’t have to suit two powertrains into the identical automotive.

Whereas weight is actually a priority, and so is price, these each may be solved by utilizing a smaller battery. As a lot because the market appears to assume it wants huge vary numbers on each automotive, the Miata isn’t a automotive you’re going to take the household on a roadtrip in anyway, and quick charging could be enough to permit individuals to get out and stretch their legs each now and again.

As a Tesla Roadster proprietor myself (I actually like small vehicles), individuals typically ask if I want the automotive had extra vary, or Supercharging functionality, and my reply is: the automotive is so tiny that I wouldn’t take it on a roadtrip anyway, and albeit, I’d quite have a lighter battery than extra vary.

So Mazda may make use of this selection – a smaller, cheaper, lighter battery, mounted low within the automotive, with an engine within the rear (and thus no driveshaft tunnel, saving weight and complexity and inside house).

It in all probability received’t be 2,400lbs, and it in all probability received’t be $30,000 (a minimum of within the manufacturing numbers Mazda would probably goal), however I’ve religion that Mazda may get within the ballpark of these two numbers, whereas providing a very distinctive and improved driving expertise from the basic Miatas.

I received’t maintain my breath, trigger I nonetheless doubt we’ll see it, however I’d like to be stunned.

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