With electrification a pressing and time-sensitive concern, the company has put its plans for a rotary-powered car on the backburner.

Akira Marumoto, CEO of Mazda, has outlined the automaker's near-term electrification plans, with regulations in Europe and China forcing the Japanese company to add electric and plug-in hybrid models to its range.

In an interview with Automotive News Europe Marumoto (below) revealed the company will launch its first electric car in 2020, and it will be based on a Mazda architecture.

The automaker is also developing a new EV architecture with Toyota. Interestingly this did not a rate a mention in Toyota's presentation last week, where it outlined its more aggressive push into the electric car market.

Mazda's first EV will be followed by plug-in hybrid models "from 2021 or 2022".

The CEO hopes these cars, along with the company's new SkyActiv-X compression ignition petrol engine, will help it hit the European Union's 2021 CO2 emissions target of 95g/km for its new car fleet.

Automakers which fail to meet the target will be fined €95 ($154) per gram over the target for every single vehicle sold in the EU during the calendar year.

Thanks to the popularity of its CX-5 crossover, as well as a decline in demand for diesel-powered cars, Mazda's new car fleet had an estimated rating of 135.2g/km.

Marumoto also stated Mazda will continue to develop its own engines. He noted the automaker is small, and as such needs to "focus on our uniqueness". If Mazda were to share engines with other car makers, it "would dilute our uniqueness".

By 2030 Mazda expects all of its vehicles to feature some sort of electrification, including some of its diesel models.

When asked about the company's iconic rotary engine, Marumoto stated development continued even after the RX-8 was axed, and its "first application will be as a range extender for EVs".

He noted "we all have the dream of seeing one day a vehicle powered by a rotary engine", but, sadly for enthusiasts, "given the number of things we have to do, we had to put this on the back burner, and we have no time frame".