Jeff Guyton: Demand for electric vehicles remains uncertainAutomotive
He is one of the best connoisseurs of the European market
It is very critical against the drift of governments towards electrical technology
“The future of the automobile and mobility has not been raised correctly”
It takes nine years in the presidency of the European subsidiary of Mazda and begins to have rumors of its possible promotion to other positions within the company. In any case, at this time and during the period in which he was vice president responsible for the subsidiary’s finances, Jeff Guyton has become one of the best connoisseurs of the European market.
In recent times it has distinguished itself by its critical stance against the decisions of the governments of the countries of the European Union (EU) with respect to the new regulations supposedly aimed at improving air quality and that practically impose a technology: the electric
“I think that the future of the car and mobility has not been considered correctly by calculating what is earned and what is lost ‘well to wheel’, that is, from the well to the wheel. batteries, whose process requires a significant contribution of energy.They will assume the charge of energy that cars will need to move, which means that unless we can only have renewable energy, we may not achieve the objective we are looking for. reduce pollution, “explains Jeff Guyton.
However, he does not declare himself an enemy of the electric car, among other things because his brand has just reached an agreement with Toyota to share the development of future models with this technology.
“It’s logical, Japan is a country without its own resources that has to import everything, for them long-term analyzes are very important to be prepared for the changes that take place, and that’s what we have done in Mazda, which is a Japanese company, we want to be prepared for when the change takes place. ”
He points out that it is unthinkable that so many electric cars can be produced as they are now in the whole world. “I am not able to assess whether there are sufficient reserves of raw materials in the world to handle the manufacture of batteries that would be necessary.” It seems that there is no problem with lithium, but there may be problems with cobalt compared to the fact that there is also those stories about their extraction in Africa, based on slave children, which I can not say if they are true. ”
What he denies is that the recycling of batteries leads to contamination. “The materials they use are recyclable and can have a new use but, from what they tell us, a lot of energy is also needed in this process.”
For Guyton, this drift to electric technology is imposed by the appetizing Chinese market, a country without oil in which to triumph these cars have to be offered. “What worries me is that there are people who are announcing things that are very expensive and I do not know how they are going to be able to get benefits.”
He is also worried about the possible loss of jobs since the electric car needs less labor, although the batteries are more expensive. “In Europe, battery factories are going to be installed, but I doubt that the labor force that employs will assume the surplus of conventional factories.”
He also points out that for the time being, the forecast of the evolution of demand is doubtful, although, apart from the policy behind this change in technology, there is also an acceptance on the part of the public. “There are countries in which the electric car groups are very satisfied with them, they are the ones with the least park and they are all facilities so far, I have friends in Norway with an electric car that are beginning to suffer from the problem of a certain overcrowding. For example, when you get to an electric station and all the poles are busy, even if they are fast-loading poles, the wait can take half an hour or more. ”
For this reason, one of the cars of the next generation of Mazda will be an extended range electric in which a rotary engine, a technology very typical of Mazda, acts as a generator. “In this way, if the battery charge is exhausted, it can be rolled with the energy produced by the generator.”
But while these electric cars arrive, Mazda will continue introducing new models with internal combustion engine, gasoline and diesel, with Sky Activ technology. The first of these is the new Mazda3, of spectacular design, although it is a segment that, after having been the one with the highest number of sales, is backing up a bit. “It’s true,” admits Guyton, “but this trend affects premium brands more, which is why we expect to sell between 40,000 and 50,000 units in Europe, which would mean maintaining our position in the segment.”
Mantener el diésel puede ser oportuno
Jeff Guyton confirmaba que en el nuevo Mazda3 se mantienen las versiones diésel, “lo que puede ser una oportunidad dado que hay quienes están abandonando la oferta de este tipo de motores en sus coches. En nuestro caso, teníamos un porcentaje del 30% de ventas de versiones diésel y hemos bajado al 20%. Vamos a ver qué sucede ahora. Pero se está produciendo un fenómeno curioso. En Alemania, en los primeros meses del año las ventas de los diésel descendieron al 11% del total. Pero después de que entrara en vigor la nueva reglamentación sobre homologación de las emisiones, han vuelto a subir al 30%. Y es que el usuario alemán ha comprendido que estos motores son acordes con la reglamentación y son más eficientes que los gasolina. Por eso han vuelto a comprarlos”. Guyton asegura que las diésel no serán versiones básicas.
EL MUNDO – SERGIO PICCIONE – Los Ángeles – 10 ene – 2019 (Translation Soft)