Mazda Exec Thinks the 'Death of the Internal Combustion Engine is Overrated'

EVs have made some big leaps in recent years, but Mazda apparently isn't quitting on internal combustion anytime soon.

Mazda

Ask most analysts about the future of mobility and they’ll tell you the future is electric. While there are certainly signs that the industry is moving in that direction, Mazda's North America's vice president of special assignments,  Robert Davis, thinks the EV revolution is over-hyped and good old fashioned internal combustion engines are underrated.

Automotive News reports that Davis spoke at a seminar on Tuesday explaining that the “impending death of the internal combustion engine is overrated.” He conceded that EVs have evolved in recent years, but he wasn't buying the revolutionary aspect of electric cars. Davis also pointed out the looming question of what to do with used EV lithium-ion batteries.

Davis made some strong points in defending internal combustion. “Take the $7,500 EV credit off the table? At the same time, you take the EV mandate off the table,” said Davis. “Let the government keep the $7,500 and let the industry find the best way to meet the clean air standard. Make it CO2, make it grams per mile, fuel economy - whatever feels best… But don’t mandate the powertrain.”

Granted, Mazda is one of the smaller players in the car industry only producing about 1.5 million vehicles annually. They don’t have anywhere near the resources that industry giants like GM and Volkswagen have to revamp their lineup for EVs and plug-in hybrids. It’s not that Mazda doesn’t care about emissions, they’ve made fuel efficiency a priority with their Skyactiv technologies, but they’re not buying into electric quite yet.

“The internal combustion engine has a strong future role in transportation,” Davis said. “We certainly considered the adoption of new technologies, batteries, EVs, plug-in hybrids and everything else. But they all share the internal combustion engine. So before we go into the time and effort and expense of adding electrification, we were convinced that a solid, efficient internal combustion engine was critical.”