Mazda Mazda2 EV to hit U.S. dealers by 2018, boast 124 mile range

Just as new information becomes available on Ford's Focus Electric, news breaks of an electrified Mazda2 in the works as well.

With California's push for automakers to offer an emissions-free vehicle or risk the ability to sell anything in the state fast approaching, Mazda has announced plans to comply with the regulation.

This Spring Mazda will begin testing of an all-electric version of its subcompact Mazda2 (known as the Demio in its home market of Japan), according to Automotive News, taking the first step towards developing a production-ready vehicles that will eventually come to the U.S.

When the Mazda2 EV arrives it is expected to weigh-in at about 220 lbs heavier than the light-weight Mazda2 gas car, utilizing lithium-ion batteries that make possible an impressive 124-mile total range and a top speed of 87 miles per hour. A quick charge is expected to take just 30 minutes, while a full charge will take eight hours with a 200-volt slow charge.

As for when to expect the car, it's a good ways off, "At least by 2018, but we will try to do it earlier," said Mitsuru Fujinaka, the chief engineer for the car at Mazda.

The engineer went on to very candidly explain why Mazda felt the need to pursue this car at this time, "Sooner or late, we will have to have these electric vehicles. Otherwise, we can't sell in California. that is the biggest reason for pursuing this."

Fujinaka's hesitation likely stems from the fact that Mazda faces a costly conundrum: the newly introduced Skyactiv body architecture - introduced with the intent of shedding weight and improving fuel economy and driving dynamics - will not be compatible with an electric vehicle. As a result, Mazda will have to develop some sort of unique platform to accommodate the low volume Mazda2 EV in order to comply with California's regulations.

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