At some point in the not-so-distant future, every automaker that wants to sell vehicles in the United States will have to offer plug-in vehicles (or fuel cell vehicles) to accumulate the ZEV (zero emission vehicle) credits necessary to avoid hefty fines from the Air Resources Board.
20 kWh Li-Ion Demio EV Battery Pack
That list includes Mazda. So enter the Mazda2 RE PHEV.
While we won't officially be able to say Mazda is selling the extended range 2 until the car's 3rd generation launch party has been had next month...it's coming.
Motoring.au had a chance to talk to Australia's managing director - Martin Benders about the car, and he basically underlined the fact that the car would only be sold in the compliance/incentive areas of the world where it would fill a need.
"The only markets in which you can justify bringing something like that out, to get at least a reasonable amount of volume to justify setting it up as a saleable model, are ones where there's government support for those types of models.
In Japan hybrids sort of took over as the brand of choice, but only for people who want the easy route to being green – (people who say) 'I'll buy a hybrid so that makes me green' – not people who actually think about whether it's viable technology or not."
For most of the world, Mazda has been relying on more and more efficient engines (and not selling many larger vehicles) to hit CO2 figures, and the new Mazda2 continues that trend as the petrol-burner will be at least 20% more efficient still.
Mazda has already demonstrated the Mazda2 RE Range Extender prototype, a vehicle that features a 20 kWh lithium battery, but also incorporates a lightweight 220 lb single-rotor Wankel engine in the back for more driving range.
Mazda Demio Interior
Earlier to the RE demonstrator was the Demio EV. The Demio used the same all-electric system as the RE, and was put into limited production in Japan (100 units) as a test/validation program.
Using Tesla-like 18650 cells, the 20 kWh vehicle was rated at 200 km (124 miles) on the ridiculously unrealistic Japan JC08 system. (Think 85 miles-ish if they brought it to the US).
Because Mazda needs their new PHEV to garner ZEV credits for them in the US, the car is fitted with a small 9 liter tank (2.4 US gallons) much like the BMW i3 REx - which is designed to double the car's total range, but also stay compliant as a BEVx as get those credits.