• Jan 24, 2011
2011 Mazda2 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Mazda is preparing a fleet of electric vehicles that will be available for lease in Japan. Based on the Demio/Mazda2, these EVs will utilize the automaker's new SKYACTIV powertrain technology. Mazda is shooting for a 200-kilometer driving range (about 124 miles) and plans to begin the leasing program in the spring of 2012.

The target audience for the vehicle will be local government groups and fleet customers. Mazda's ultimate goal of the program is to refine its knowledge of electric vehicles by collecting data on EV requirements and powertrain technology. For the full details, follow the jump for the automaker's brief press release.

Photos copyright ©2011 Jeff Glucker / AOL

[Source: Mazda]
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Mazda to Lease Electric Vehicles in Japan

HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda Motor Corporation is independently developing an electric vehicle (EV) with plans to commence leasing in Japan in spring 2012. The new EV, based on its Demio subcompact, is expected to have a driving range of 200 kilometers and will be leased mainly to local government bodies and fleet customers.

Mazda is currently advancing its Building Block Strategy, which prioritizes the improvement of base technologies by developing more efficient engines and transmissions and reducing vehicle weight. Building on this, Mazda will progressively introduce electric devices such as regenerative braking and hybrid systems. The initial results of the strategy – products featuring Mazda's new, eco-friendly SKYACTIV technologies – will begin rolling out to markets this year. In parallel with the Building Block Strategy, Mazda is also continuing its research and development efforts into EVs designed for customers with short city commutes. Through this EV lease program, Mazda hopes to enhance its knowledge of EV usage requirements and electric drive technologies.

The internal combustion engine is expected to remain the heart of the automobile for the near future. Going forward, Mazda will continue to improve its base technologies that are centered on internal combustion. At the same time, it will advance development of various future eco-friendly technologies in order to offer all its customers driving pleasure as well as outstanding environmental and safety performance.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      I got to drive a brand new Mazda 3 the other day and I was fairly impressed by how it handled. Definitely liked it a lot more than the Mazda 6, which I honestly had expected to handle a lot better based on all the things people like to say about it. But the 3 actually handled very sharply without being harsh. The base engine could have used more power but nonetheless I really liked the handling.
      If they can make these small EVs handle like that I think they'd have a winning formula!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Mazda's EV program is only a continuation of their hydrogen scheme.

      Mazda has been leasing hydrogen powered fleet of rotary powered RX-8 and Premacys (Renesis powered Mazda 5). Those cars are leased to private and government bodies and can rely on Mazda's network of hydrogen refuelling stations. Cars run on liquid hydrogen rather on hydrogen fuel cells. The reason is that Renesis can burn hydrogen with very little modifications and the cars are essentially bi-fuel (petrol/hydrogen).

      So while many have EVs, a very few have hydrogen. And the latter is still a better bet for the long term future.