Mazda’s EV--& More—Approach

Let’s see.

Let’s see. There’s the Nissan all-electric LEAF. There’s the Chevy almost-all-electric Volt. There’s the Ford Transit Connect Electric. And there are more (1) coming commercially or (2) undergoing tests of one sort or another.

Among the latest to announce EV plans is Mazda Motor Corp. It is developing its own EV on the platform of its Demio subcompact—a.k.a., the Mazda2. It is expected to have a range of 200 km (124 miles).

And in the spring of 2012, it “will be leased mainly to local government bodies and fleet customers.” In other words, there won’t be consumers in and around Mazda HQ in Hiroshima rolling in Demio EVs.

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In making the announcement of this EV program, Mazda stated, “The internal combustion engine is expected to remain the heart of the automobile for the near future. Going forward, Mazda will continue to improve its base technologies that are centered on internal combustion.” It has a program called its “Building Block Strategy” that is predicated on improving the efficiencies of engines and transmissions—which it will be soon launching as its SKYACTIV technologies—and it is working to reduce vehicle weight, gram-by-gram if need be.

But it added, “At the same time, it will advance development of various future eco-friendly technologies in order to offer all its customers driving pleasure as well as outstanding environmental and safety performance.”

In other words, they understand that if you’re going to be in the automotive game, you’ve got to spread your bets of technology, even though you may have a hot hand when it comes to things like improving the internal combustion engine.