We don't have a clue what 2018 has in store for us, but automakers' product plans extend well into the future, giving us a glimpse of what may or may not come. Automotive News reports that Mazda is planning to offer an electric vehicle in the United States by 2018, in part to satisfy California's zero-emissions vehicle requirements.
Mazda engineer Mitsuru Fujinaka reportedly told AN that the regulations make a U.S.-bound EV a near certainty, adding, "otherwise, we can't sell in California." And since California has the highest population of any state in the Union, we're thinking Mazda doesn't want to lose such a huge market. Of course, 2018 is more of a deadline than a target, so it's possible that Mazda could offer an EV in the U.S. before then.
The U.S.-bound Mazda EV may be a long way away, but that doesn't mean the automaker doesn't already have electrification plans underway in its home country. In the spring, Mazda will begin leasing an all-electric version of the Demio (the Mazda2 in the U.S.), which offers a range of 124 miles and a top speed of 87 miles per hour. The Demio will be a lease-only affair with a planned monthly take rate in the three-digit territory. The Demio EV can fast charge in 30 minutes, and a full charge takes about eight hours.