A couple weeks ago, Mazda dropped its "Sustainable Zoom Zoom 2030" plan — yes, that's the actual name — on the world. It spells out massive changes to the product lineup that would see Mazda go 100 percent electrified by 2030, with 25 percent of the lineup by then being composed of pure electric vehicles. For car enthusiasts, that raised an immediate and pressing issue: what's going to happen to the MX-5 Miata?
The answer? The Miata will stick around. According to Japanese outlet Kuruma News (as spotted by Motor Trend), Mazda has confirmed that an electrified MX-5 is part of their product planning for 2030. However, what that will look like remains uncertain.
On paper, a hybrid Miata seems like be a better bet than a pure electric one, given the state of present technology. EV batteries are still heavy; even the smallest EVs like the Chevy Bolt or the Hyundai Kona Electric still weigh between 3,500 and 4,000 pounds. That's more than half a ton more than the current MX-5. Producing an EV Miata with similar driving dynamics would probably require a battery technology leap.
Even a hybrid Miata would be a challenge. The primary appeal to car lovers of the MX-5 is its pure retro driving dynamics: rear-wheel drive, six-speed manual transmission, super lightweight. It's the closest thing to an old British roadster you can still buy, without the leaks and electrical gremlins those cars had. At the very least, the MX-5 Miata may have to give up the manual transmission and add weight.
Changes are coming to the automotive world amidst the global crisis. And all of our favorite cars must adapt to survive. But while robust brands like the Mustang and Corvette may offer room for electrified reinterpretation, the Mazda MX-5 only has one trick. And if Mazda can't replicate the driving dynamics under electrification, the Miata will be just another really impractical sports coupe, of the sort many manufacturers will be culling from their lineups.