Why is a Mazda2 Plug-in Hybrid Testing in the US?

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

The 2016 Mazda2 isn’t heading to North America, so why is the automaker testing a plug-in hybrid variant in California?

One of AutoGuide.com‘s readers spotted this Mazda2 near the company’s headquarters in Irvine, California, and several things stood out. For starters, Mazda has confirmed the next-generation Mazda2 isn’t heading to the U.S. or Canada, so it’s a bit strange that something is being tested in the U.S. Along with that, this particular Mazda2 is badged as a Mazda Demio and is a right-hand-drive model that appears to have come straight from Japan. But most importantly, there is a second “gas door” on the front fender, meaning it is a plug-in hybrid.

SEE ALSO: 2016 Mazda2 Won’t Launch in the US

More than two years ago, Mazda began testing the Mazda2 Range Extender, which featured a 0.33-liter rotary engine along with an electric motor. It actually started its life as a full electric vehicle before the Japanese automaker incorporated a small rotary engine to serve as a range extender, similar to the BMW i3.

It is most likely that Mazda North America is testing the plug-in hybrid powertrain in order to see if it fits with any other existing models that are sold in the U.S. and Canada. Whether or not it will have a rotary engine remains an unknown.

Discuss this story on our Mazda2 Forum

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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