Mazda could soon become the first Japanese manufacturer to offer diesel-electric hybrids in Asia and Europe.

Mazda could soon become the first Japanese manufacturer to offer diesel-electric hybrids in Asia and Europe.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports the company could start selling such hybrids as early as 2016. The source explains a diesel-fueled engine will be used as the main drive source while a small electric motor will play a supporting role.

There is no information on which will be the first model to receive the hybrid system, but this will likely be the Mazda3, also known in Japan as the Mazda Axela. The magazine says the diesel hybrid model will be up to 30 percent more fuel efficient than a standard diesel variant, translating to a combined consumption of around 2.5 liters/100 km (94 mpg).

Currently, Mazda3 is available as a petrol-hybrid model that features a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission. This setup enables the model to return up to 3.2 liters/100 km (73.5 mpg).

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Mazda working on diesel-electric hybrid system - report