Mazda is developing its next slate of electric vehicles, which could include this electric sedan.
As the entire automotive industry pivots toward electrification over the next few years, mid-size automaker Mazda has been slower to jump on the bandwagon than most. The company did lay out an $11 billion plan last month, and patent application images uncovered by The Drive may shed light into their next fully electric car. If these patent images translate to a production model, this could be another step in Mazda’s plan after the current MX-30 and the upcoming, plug-in hybrid CX-90 crossover.
The documents cover structural elements of a new compact sedan, which could ostensibly replace the existing Mazda 3. One of the most interesting, to my mind, is Figure 3 (shown below), which shows the structure of the battery pack and an electric motor on the front axle.
The patent goes on to claim the battery will deliver “reasonable driving range” and be thinner and more compact that we’d normally expect. We are still talking about a patent application, though, so the company is not too specific on what type of battery we’ll see. It could be a lithium-ion pack like most modern EVs. However, depending on where the company’s at with the technology, it could be a solid-state pack. That would offer far greater energy density for the relative size, though no current EV has implemented the technology in customer-facing production just yet.
Will this patent make it to production? As always…we’ll see
While the company’s been speaking more publicly about the “large architecture” underpinning its new crossovers, it’s not forgetting the smaller, front-wheel drive segment the Mazda 3 occupies. This EV looks like it would carry the concept forward, offering a front-mounted motor in a relatively compact package. That said, Mazda kept things nice and open to suggest it could also see a motor on the rear axle to offer all-wheel drive. We’ve only seen a Mazda 3 AWD in the current, fourth-generation models, so it’s likely a feature the automaker will want to retain if and when a next-generation replacement arrives.
To be clear, these patent images are subject to chance. Mazda is laying out an idea here, and we’ll have to see whether it evolves in a different direction, or if the manufacturer decides to carry out development past this planning stage. We won’t know with certainty until Mazda spills the beans, though these discoveries do get the mind racing a bit.
There are a ton of possibilities for the future — and the Japanese brand does need to full-on jump into the EV competition sooner rather than later.
Check out more on the current-gen Mazda 3 and its electric MX-30 offering below: