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Mazda tells new PM where to go on electric cars

To date the only electric Mazda we've seen is the Japan-only Demio EV in 2011.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says electric vehicles can’t tow and will “end the weekend”, while opposition leader Bill Shorten wants half of all new cars sold by 2030 to be EVs.

Yes, as the nation heads to the polls this Saturday the electric car debate has become a hot topic, but does either party really know what it’s talking about and are EVs the answer? Mazda Australia is not convinced.

CarsGuide asked Mazda what points the major parties should include in an electric vehicle strategy which would get Mazda’s vote and give it a good reason to bring its first EV down under.

Unlike many other brands Mazda doesn’t have an electric vehicle for sale, but the company has one waiting in the wings and it will unveil it to the world later this year.

Whether we’ll be able to buy the electric vehicle locally is still to be decided with Mazda Australia’s managing director Vinesh Bhindi saying he is yet to be convinced if the conditions are right to bring an EV here.

“There is a party that is pushing the EV agenda in the public eye and I suppose from our point of view we would question the ultimate objective of going towards EVs,” Bhindi says.

“If it is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions then we would encourage whichever party is in government to consider the whole equation - it’s no use having EVs if the generation of power is not as clean as it should or can be."

Mazda Australia’s marketing director Alistair Doak says that would be the first ‘bullet point’ in an EV strategy for a new government.

“You need to make sure that you are supplying energy that is clean to start with because there’s no point if you’re just transferring carbon dioxide from one location to another. There is no benefit so why bother? So, I think there has to be a proper level of clean power generation,” Doak says.

“Number 2 would be infrastructure,” he says.

“We can’t get everybody into electric cars if there’s no way to actually recharge these vehicles. If you think of how many petrol stations there are around and then think about how many times you see an EV charging station. That’s the huge question – how do you do that?”

In closing Bhindi adds more points for a new government to consider, such as what would be the value to the consumer and the cost.

“From our point-of-view offering EVs is probably the easiest piece of the puzzle,” he says. “What we would like is for the government to ensure the generation of energy is not only clean, but also cost effective. If they are not achieving that then you sort of start asking the question: what is the ultimate advantage for a consumer? There also has to be enough capacity.”

Mazda is one of the few mainstream car manufacturers not to have an electric or hybrid vehicle in showrooms, preferring to continue to develop its combustion engines to be more fuel efficient.

Its new ‘Skyactiv-X’ engine is the first petrol engine to use compression ignition and will arrive in Australia in 2019 with promises of increasing efficiency by 20-30 per cent over current engines.

What points would you offer in an EV strategy to a new Australian government? Tell us what you think inthe comments below.