The Mazda Miata Goes Electric With a Hybrid Powertrain

“Miata is always the answer.” That’s surely true for most enthusiast driver-related conundrums. Well, unless you’re towing something. However, Mazda might just be adding more torque to the Mazda Miata soon. While it won’t be enough to tow with, the Japanese brand is planning on adding a hybrid electric powertrain to the legendary little roadster.

What form it’ll be in remains to be seen, but the Miata could end up with more power, more torque, and less, well, Miata.

The Mazda Miata will continue to be made

An orange Mazda Miata shot in a shadowy warehouse from the front 3/4
The current generation of Miata also offers a hard top | Mazda

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First, a grain of salt. Mazda has previously said that their Skyactiv-X engine will only be used in “all-new models.” That means models that are built around the platform containing the brand’s hybrid powertrain technology, like the new MX-30. However, sources over at Autocar indicate that could be the case for the Mazda Miata.

Remember, the “new” Mitata debuted all the way back in 2014. That’s eight years old. Even with refreshes, new trims, et cetera, the current ND-gen Miata is quite old by car standards. We’re certainly due for an all-new Miata to say the least. That certainly lends some credibility to the report, short of confirmation from the Japanese brand themselves.

Will hybrid power un-Miata the Miata?

The 2021 Mazda Miata shot from the high 3/4 in orange with doors open
Could a hybrid Miata un-Miata the legendary roadster? | Mazda

So, what does that mean for the Miata? For starters, we’re looking at a new model, but one that’s likely based heavily on existing Mazda Miata architecture. That means the hard points of the car will be loosely similar, if not identical to the current ND Miata. As a reminder, “hard points” are the spots where the body meets the chassis, thus cementing the boundaries of design (also known as the reason concept cars never look the way they do on paper when they’re released).

Obviously, the inclusion of hybrid power means more weight for the Miata. And weight is the enemy of the Mazda Miata because it requires more power to move it, something the Miata is traditionally not about. Whether Mazda goes whole-hog with electric motors on the front axle or splits the difference with a “torque fill” system like the RS6, remains to be seen.

We could even see a rotary MX-5

The current generation Miata with open top shot from the front 3/4 at sunset
The new Mazda could be a very different Miata | Mazda

Then, of course, there’s Mazda’s recent patent for rotary powertrains. Hybrids solve many of the problems faced by rotary engines, so it is, while a bit of a stretch, a possibility we could see a rotary Mazda Miata in the future. That, for now at least, will have to remain withing the bounds of fiction; as no such plan exists that we know of.

Regardless, hybrid power poses a great many challenges for the Miata platform. However, it also keeps the little roadster alive, in a world where every manufacturer is announcing plans to go electric in the next decade. Whether the Mazda Miata has a place in this electric future remains to be the same, but a hybrid powertrain is certainly a step in that direction.

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