What do you call the propulsion system of a Mazda 6 having a Toyota Prius hybrid drivetrain shoe-horned in? Mazda Hybrid Synergy Drive?
No word on that question has been given, but spy photos of a possible 2013 hybrid under development using a blend of Mazda/Prius hardware have been circulating the Web.
It is believed Mazda, despite its “Zoom Zoom” ode to petrol power slogan is grasping for ways to electrically improve efficiency in light of increased worldwide governmental pressures on it and all automakers.
The Mazda 6 test mule has a gear lever from a Prius, along with the rest of the Prius hybrid tech in keeping with a licensing agreement made last year between Mazda and Toyota.
Mazda says the tuning will be all Mazda however, as will the internal combustion engine to be mated to the Toyota hybrid side of things.
The car anticipated to be launched late 2012 or some time in 2013 is rumored to be indeed a Mazda 6 – not some other design being cloaked for now by the Mazda 6 body. Going this route will save Mazda hundreds of millions compared to developing a totally new car.
The engine could be a variant of the Skyactiv gas-powered four cylinder. A 163-horsepower version due in the 2012 Mazda 3 is said to deliver a respectable 40 mpg without any form of electric assist, and would be ideal for hybridization.
In comparison, a Toyota Prius’ combined output is 134 horsepower, so the 6 with gas-plus-electric propulsion ought to be more zoomier in a concession to Mazda’s diluted mantra as the company dips its toes cautiously into the hybrid waters.
A diesel variant to the Skyactiv engine is also in the works, but costs would be amplified to use it in the hybrid Mazda 6, so bets are it will be gas-electric.
Mazda will also launch at least one diesel-powered vehicle in the U.S. market for 2012.
Its hybrid effort is definitely a conservative one in licensing and adopting Toyota’s already proven designs.