Toyota And Mazda Could Finally Make Us Want An Electric Car

With news breaking that the two Japanese brands are set to work together on future electric cars, our man thinks this could be the start of electric cars finally combining affordability and desirability
Toyota And Mazda Could Finally Make Us Want An Electric Car

Toyota working with Mazda on future product could be the best thing to happen to electric cars since, well, ever. The two brands, working with typical Japanese respect for one another despite Toyota being worth over 20 times the value of ickle Mazda, could create something that will revolutionise the way consumers see EVs.

Right now, there are two types of full-electric car: Teslas, and ones you don’t want. Sure, a Nissan Leaf might make sense for someone who drives 15 miles a day through the centre of Crewe and back, but unless you’re a bit weird, non-Tesla electric cars just aren’t desirable. You make that purchase with your head, or your crippling eco-consciousness, and your heart has literally nothing to do with it.

Toyota And Mazda Could Finally Make Us Want An Electric Car

Teslas, on the other hand, are very desirable. They look good, even if we’re still adjusting to the lack of a front grille, they work well and they come packed with advanced technology and enough battery capacity to put range anxiety aside. The major problem is that these are expensive cars. Even the Model 3 won’t be much less than £35,000 in the UK in its basic trim; it might top £40,000 with the larger battery.

So neither Tesla, nor the also-rans who haven’t quite got the formula right yet, are solving the riddle of how to get more people into electric cars, if, as it appears, that’s ultimately what has to happen. A Toyota-Mazda partnership could be the answer.

Effective, it is. Pretty, it isn't.
Effective, it is. Pretty, it isn't.

Toyota brings engineering excellence, a renewed mechanical diligence and decades of experience with batteries and hybrid drivetrains. It brings arguably by far the deepest understanding of how to maximise the efficiency of a drivetrain of any manufacturer out there, having worked across petrol, diesel, hybrid and hydrogen in recent times. It also brings something else: foresight.

Toyota was the only brand to see the need for hybrids way ahead of time. When European manufacturers (and media) were laughing at the funny little Prius, swearing that it was a waste of time and money and that diesel was the way to go, Toyota had already engineered a drivetrain layout that could cope with any future eventuality, allowing it to keep it and refine it, generation by generation. With this foresight in mind, don’t you think there’s a reason why Toyota hasn’t built a full-electric car? It certainly could have, if it wanted to, but Toyota sees the future more clearly than other brands. It has waited until the current, inadequate technology gets replaced by something else, and that something is coming from Toyota itself.

Could a Mazda-enhanced full-electric Toyota harness some of the GT86's spirit?
Could a Mazda-enhanced full-electric Toyota harness some of the GT86's…

Solid-state batteries are a known technology, but using them to power cars has thus far been out of reach. Toyota is well on the way to fixing that, with its first production solid-state electric car batteries scheduled for 2022. Recharge times will be cut to minutes, battery cell life expectancies will rise and there will easily be enough power on board to skip past 200 miles per charge. Toyota has spent the last 25 years developing the right thing at the right time. They are enviably clever.

As for Mazda, it brings a couple of things Toyota has been desperately lacking recently. The first is style. Toyota’s latest mainstream cars like the Prius, Auris, Avensis and Rav4 have all been a bit of a dog’s dinner in the looks department. The Yaris, C-HR and GT86 (especially the GT86) are exceptions, but in that middle bit of the market the styling direction quickly needs to change. Pick any Mazda and you have a fundamentally good-looking car, as long as you spec it with big wheels.

Toyota And Mazda Could Finally Make Us Want An Electric Car

Mazda also brings an attention to lightness that isn’t really on the agenda at Toyota. Mazda’s SkyActiv programme has seen massive gains in efficiency over the last five years or so, with advanced new construction techniques and a considered approach to shaving grams wherever possible without affecting the overall sense of quality. For another thing, Mazda’s interiors are, on the whole, a lot better-looking and a lot more European-feeling than Toyota’s.

We know that both brands can build cars that are awesome to drive. The GT86 and the ND MX-5 are two of our favourite new cars, for their light-footed and pure approach to driving fun. The two brands could surely make an EV that was fun. There’s huge synergy here; both brands complement each other perfectly. While we’d rather keep hold of petrol cars for as long as we can, Toyota and Mazda, working together, could create a new generation of brilliant electric ones that people can afford, and that they really want.


Noah Thorley Images

Dear Mazda and Toyota,

Screw electric cars. Give us a rotary GT86.

08/05/2017 - 10:09 |
20 | 0

If they do, I’ll immeadiatly preorder one

08/05/2017 - 10:39 |
2 | 0
Tomislav Celić

1990: Hey kid, WANT SUM TURBO

Time changes but some things stay the same

08/05/2017 - 10:09 |
89 | 3

Jaguar 2040: “5.0L Supercharged V8 game still strong bro”

08/05/2017 - 10:14 |
47 | 1

My computer experience might start to come in handy soon.
“What shop tuned your car?”
“Huh? I just installed MSI Afterburner.”

08/06/2017 - 02:38 |
2 | 0


08/06/2017 - 06:01 |
1 | 0

Hur hur hur his NextEV Betamax IMAX doesn’t even overclock to 30 GHz

08/06/2017 - 13:03 |
0 | 0

what the frick!? i rather drive a damn prius than a eSUV

08/05/2017 - 10:44 |
7 | 0
Nerdy moustache

I think this is a great idea for them to team up. I mean think about it rx86.

08/05/2017 - 11:42 |
10 | 0

Just make a rotary engine runs on hydrogen already.

08/05/2017 - 11:52 |
29 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I wouldn’t object to that as well as a hybrid combo. Could make for an interesting combo

08/05/2017 - 19:07 |
1 | 0
Christian González Alfonso 1

Or, or, ORRR we could… yo know… rotary swap a prius

08/05/2017 - 12:17 |
6 | 0

I will probably never understand why Toyota cannot make a normal-looking car nowadays. They either look so bland that you forgot you saw them 10 seconds later; or they look like mercury in the wind tunnel. If they would put the good Prius drivetrain into a beautifully-designed car (like the Mazda 6 for example), this could become a well-desirable hybrid or EV.

08/05/2017 - 13:47 |
11 | 0

In reply to by Jakob

Because their target market - generally speaking - is for people who want to spend as little of their income as possible on an uninspiring but admittedly reliable generic car, but who think that pointy headlights and shiny silver bits stuck on is ‘sporty’ and ‘contemporary’

08/05/2017 - 13:59 |
6 | 0
Tomislav Celić

In reply to by Jakob

Honestly I likw the design of the GT86 and the new Corolla.

08/05/2017 - 15:05 |
2 | 0
Craig Martin

In reply to by Jakob

My main dislike of all these hybrids is the need to look ‘futuristic’. I think thats what Toyota goes for with their styling. But all it says is ‘look at me, I drive a hybrid. I sniff my own farts’ [insert south park here]. If I was to drive a hybrid, I dont want to draw attention to the fact I’ve joined the dark side

08/05/2017 - 16:38 |
2 | 0
Deadpool (Cam's much sexier twin) (Official Demon Fangirl)

I’m actually really excited to see what comes out of this, my hometown has actually made the shortlist of potential sites for this joint plant. I don’t know if they meant the batteries or the cars themselves but either way. I’d put my application in.

08/05/2017 - 14:35 |
1 | 0
Lucas Tekkan

Maybe too late ?

08/05/2017 - 15:07 |
18 | 0
Daksh Pat

Honestly, roads are not going to be fit for electric cars cause what I’ve seen, those motors are not happy on highways, they might be viable for people who live in the city, but driving on highways at higher speeds is where ICEs are better at. Unless EVs come with transmissions like ICE cars, they are not going to be as good of a replacement as we thought they are.

08/05/2017 - 17:13 |
1 | 0



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