This October in Japan, Mazda will tentatively put its feet in the EV waters by way of a lease program involving versions of the Demio (Mazda 2) Electric Vehicle.
The cars will mainly be procured by local government agencies, with 100 in total expected to be leased, though some will be offered to Mazda’s corporate customers, primarily in Western Japan, near the company’s Hiroshima headquarters.
The independently developed Demio EV incorporates some fairly clever features, including a three-phase permanent magnet synchronous electric motor with a coil switching system. Smaller than most traditional electric motors, the coil switching setup enables it to deliver both low and high torque at low and high revs (most units can only deliver high torque at low rpm and vice versa).
Combined with a centrally mounted battery pack that uses an aluminum casing to reduce weight, performance of the Demio EV is said to be sprightly at both low and higher speeds, with the car’s weight distribution delivering good handling and a compliant ride. Two drive modes, regular D, and Eco are offered (the latter increasing regenerative braking under deceleration). A Charge Switch is incorporated to further increase the regenerative process, especially when descending grades.
Mazda will be offering the Demio EV at 3,577,00 yen ($44,746). Although clearly a small-scale pilot program, it will be interesting to see the feedback generated from the leased EVs once they hit the market this fall.