Mazda has been working with its parent company Ford in developing hybrid technology. But now, they are looking to go their own way.
By developing on its own, they can develop the whole car as a hybrid, not just use what's available as parts to insert. For instance, according to a parts supplier, Mazda is looking to develop a lighter vehicle (chassis) to put around the extra weight a hybrid battery brings to the vehicle.
In the past, Mazda has delivered Tribute hybrids for testing by local fire departments. They are also working on the release of hydrogen powered hybrid vehicles with rotary engines by 2008.
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Seita Kanai, senior managing executive officer in charge of Mazda's R&D, acknowledged that the company is working independently of Ford and has a hybrid development plan aimed at a market rollout. "With an increasing array of hybrid models in the future, the challenge will be the appeal of the car itself. We're looking to emulate the Mazda brand of driving pleasure in our hybrids, too," Kanai said of the company's development aspirations.