Mazda today announced that it's developing an electric vehicle based on the Demio subcompact – known as the Mazda2 in Europe and North America –, which will be available for lease in Japan starting from spring 2012.
Details about the upcoming zero-emissions model are limited right now, with the official press release only stating that the car's driving range is expected to be around 200 km (124 miles) and that it will be leased mainly to local government bodies and fleet customers.
Mazda’s foray into the EV segment focuses on developing electric cars suitable for customers with short city commutes. Through the aforementioned lease program, the Japanese maker hopes to gain valuable information about usage requirements and electric drive technologies.
The acquired experience will also be used to improve the base technologies of the brand, as announced in the Building Block Strategy. Certain systems sourced from EVs such as regenerative braking tech, will make their way into conventional models, which will also benefit from the firm's SKYACTIV technologies, announced at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.
For now, the company’s core values are going to be centered around the internal combustion engine, but in the long run, customers can expect to find an increasing number of eco-friendly technologies fitted to Mazda models.
By Csaba Daradics
*Note: Standard Mazda2 / Demio featured in photos