Mazda has electric vehicle intentions for Japan

25 Jan 2011

Mazda is developing a new electric vehicle (EV), based on its Demio model, which it plans to start leasing in Japan in 2012. The new EV aims to have a driving range of 200km.

Mazda, which last year celebrated its 90th anniversary in the automobile industry, announced yesterday the new EV will be leased mainly to local government bodies and fleet customers in Japan.

Last year, to coincide with its birthday celebrations, Mazda launched a special edition version of its Demio compact car (the Mazda2) for the Japanese market. The car was based on the Demio 13C-V model grade, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and achieving fuel economy of 23km per litre, according to the company. In 2008, the Mazda Demio won World Car of the Year.

While, up to now, Mazda has remained relatively tight lipped in the EV space, it says it will progressively introduce electric devices, such as regenerative braking and hybrid systems, advancing its base technologies by developing more efficient engines and transmissions and reducing vehicle weight.

Electric drive technologies

Mazda’s new, eco-friendly SKYACTIV technologies will begin rolling out to markets this year. The company is also concentrating its research and development efforts on EVs designed for customers with short city commutes.

In a statement yesterday, Mazda said the internal combustion engine is “expected to remain the heart of the automobile for the near future.”

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic