Jeffrey Guyton, the president and CEO of Mazda USA, isn’t sold on the EV range race.
Guyton told Green Car Reports at the 2024 Mazda CX-90 reveal that while electric vehicle buyers today are looking for 300 miles of range, the future’s not ever-longer range. Consumers will find they don’t really need even that much, he said.
Second-time BEV owners will learn, evolve, and shift their priorities and needs based on experience, Guyton thinks. As charging infrastructure develops, people’s experiences will develop, charging at home will factor in, and the technology will improve.
The executive noted that the adoption of EVs across the country will be inherently tied to how people feel about the infrastructure.
But Mazda will not be building any infrastructure, at least not on its own.
Mazda is a relatively small automaker, in the U.S. market or on the world stage. While it sells vehicles in 130 countries, it only builds about 2% of the world’s cars. In 2022 Mazda sold 294,908 vehicles in the U.S., and currently aside from the California-only, limited-volume MX-30, it currently has no EVs or hybrids. That will change with a clean-sheet BEV platform coming in the second half of this decade, a hybrid CX-50 on the horizon, according to Guyton, and 2024 CX-90 plug-in hybrid (and MHEV) launching in the spring.
Future investments and partnerships with charging providers are on the table, he said. But don’t expect anything on the order of GM’s partnership with Pilot fueling stations for a 350-kw coast-to-coast charging network, or Mercedes’ own fast-charging network.
2022 Mazda MX-30
Mazda today is partnered with ChargePoint, and it uses that app and ecosystem for a seamless user experience.
Guyton hopes that there is coordination among third-party charging companies, so that charging is where it’s needed—without too much overlap. “As a society we have a finite amount of resources to do this,” he said.
On the subject of finite resources, Guyton also believes battery packs will be smaller and weigh less while providing less range but quicker charging versus what we see today.
The weight gain of electric trucks that aim well beyond 300 miles of range is a concern for Guyton, noting that the IIHS just upgraded its testing lab so that it can crash 10,000-lb electric pickup trucks.
“I don’t think that’s really sustainable,” the executive said.