According to a report in The Yomiuri Shimbun, Mazda is currently developing a diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain. The scheduled launch date is during the 2016 Japanese financial year, which runs from the beginning of April 2016 through to end of March 2017.
Fuel consumption for the new car is targeted at around the 2.5L/100km mark under the generous JC08 fuel economy cycle. Mazda's diesel hybrid will be sold in Japan and Europe, although the newspaper doesn't indicate which model or models will be fitted with the new drivetrain.
Currently in Japan Mazda offers a petrol-electric hybrid version of the Mazda 3, which we drove briefly last year. Known there as the Mazda Axela Hybrid, this vehicle mates a detuned version of Mazda's 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G engine with the electric drivetrain components of the Toyota Prius, including its electric motor.
The overwhelming majority of hybrid cars on the road today are of the petrol-electric persuasion, with the Prius as its rock-star leader. So far only four brands have diesel-electric hybrids in showrooms: Citroen, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot and Volvo.
Should this report prove to be true, it's not certain if this vehicle will make it into Australian showrooms. Given the increased cost of the such a car and the small volumes involved, the chances seem to be on the slim side.