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. For more on Mazda's overall efficiency plans, read these articles (1, 2) on the Skyactiv plans, which include electrification.