Even in today’s world where most business is being looked out through green-colored glasses, not all of the automotive companies around the globe feel that hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) are the way of the future. However, we are seeing some of those companies get off the fence and join the growing segment of hybrids and EVs. Mazda is no exception there; they are now participating in collaboration with the city of Tsukuba, Japan where they will test a car-sharing program.
The car-sharing program will be made up of three electrified versions of the Mazda Demio, or what we would know as the Mazda2 (as sold outside of Japan). The Demio will be converted by a company named Itochu Corporation and will be a zero-emissions vehicle. The cars will use rapid battery charging stations at fixed points around the city and also use solar power as part of the service test. How will people get the cars? According to Mazda, the car-sharing program will use a contactless smart card payment system for the rental of the cars and the use of the rapid charging stations.
Using rechargeable electric vehicles in this kind of car-sharing program is a first for Japan and promises to give Mazda some good exposure in the market. It will also let them test EVs in a real world situation and monitor the batteries with the remote battery monitoring technology that will be installed on all three vehicles. I for one can’t wait to hear more about how this car-sharing program performs.