Mazda2 EV to be available for lease this fall

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Mazda2

The Mazda2 EV will be available for lease in October, though only in Japan. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Mazda is the latest of the major car companies to jump on the electric vehicle bandwagon, by creating the Mazda2 EV, an electric version of the subcompact hatchback. The car, also called the Demio EV, will be available for lease in October, though only in Japan.

Japan gets first crack at Mazda2 EV

In January 2011, according to AutoGuide, Mazda announced it was creating an electric version of the Mazda2, the brand’s subcompact five-door hatchback. The company announced the first limited production run would be offered up for lease in 2012.

According to Automobile magazine, the car is going to be available for lease in October. However, there aren’t going to be many to go around, as Mazda is only producing 100 of the Mazda2 EV, alternately called the Demio EV, as the Mazda2 is sold in some countries as the Demio.

Unfortunately for electric car aficionados worldwide, it’s only being leased in Japan. Only 100 people in Chugoku province, according to MarketWatch, will get that privilege. Chugoku is in the western part of the country, where Mazda’s headquarters are located. The plan is to lease them to business and government customers.

Impressive range

The electric Mazda2 employs Mazda’s  “Building Block Strategy.” The idea is to do basic things better like improving engine efficiency and saving weight, which SkyActiv technologies are a part of.

The Mazda2 EV, according to Automobile, employs a 101 horsepower electric motor, which generates about 111 foot-pounds of torque, which is a little more than a standard Mazda2. The standard car produces 98 horsepower and 101 foot-pounds of torque, according to Mazda’s website.

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The motor is powered by a 20 kilowatt-hour battery pack which, according to Australian car website Drive.com.au, sits in a “T” formation under the cabin. The electric version is 100 kilograms (about 220 pounds) heavier than the standard Mazda2. The car also is equipped with a regenerative brake system.

Mazda estimates its range at 124 miles and can be recharged on a standard outlet in 8 hours, according to Automobile. A fast-charging system from Mazda is said to get the car to 80 percent charge in 40 minutes.

Nothing stateside for some time

If the 124 mile range and 40-minute charge time hold up, that makes the Mazda2 EV best in class. Mazda is hesitantly wading into EV and hybrid technology as the company intends on seeing how well leasers respond to the Mazda2. The Mazda2 EV is not slated to be released in the United States until at least 2018 at the moment.

However, according to Drive.com.au, Mitsuru Fujinaka, project manager for the Mazda2 EV was quoted as saying that the company had to develop electric cars as “otherwise we will not be able to sell cars in California,” due to emissions regulations, as well as other areas with tightening regulations. Mazda President and CEO Takashi Yamanoushi is a known curmudgeon on the subject of hybrids and electric cars, but has said that they fill a need.

Sources

AutoGuide

Automobile

MarketWatch

Mazda: http://www.mazdausa.com/MusaWeb/displayPage.action?pageParameter=modelsSpecs2&vehicleCode=MZ2

Drive.com.au: http://news.drive.com.au/drive/green-motoring/first-drive-mazda-goes-electric-20111205-1of0l.html

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