In October, Mazda will offer 100 Demio EVs for lease in western Japan, hoping to learn more about developing electric cars and the needs of EV owners through what is essentially a focus group test.
The Demio is the equivalent of the Mazda 2 here in the U.S., and by offering only 100 units for lease, the Japanese automaker will be able to keep a close eye on the vehicles and their owners, similar to what BMW is doing with its ActiveE model. If the lease program is successful, it will undoubtedly increase the chances that the electrified Mazda 2 finds its way into mass production, and potentially to more markets.
For now, the Demio EV features an electric motor with 101-hp and 111 lb-ft of torque, while a 20 kWh battery gives it a driving range of about 124 miles. And like other EVs on the market, a typical full charge can take up to eight hours, while an 80 percent capacity fast charge can be done in just 40 minutes if need be.
The automaker hopes to have an electric vehicle in the U.S. market by 2018 – which sounds really far off compared to other initiatives current automakers are doing. We recently reviewed the Honda Fit EV, which showed that electric cars aren’t necessarily boring, but Mazda may be way late to the party if there’s another six more years of waiting.
[Source: Automobile Mag]