Mazda has confirmed that it will reveal its first “mass-production battery electric vehicle” at the Tokyo Motor Show on October 23.
The electric vehicle will be a completely new model, according to Mazda, and will, like the new Mazda 3, follow Mazda’s new clean-slate, human-centered design approach. Mazda is offers no further details, other than that “it offers performance drivers can enjoy effortlessly and whole-heartedly.”
Mazda electric vehicle teaser
The EV has been on Mazda’s product map for several years, and it’s expected, like the BMW i3, to have a modest battery capacity and relatively short EPA-rated range—closer to 100 miles than 200 or 300—but supplemented with a small internal combustion range extender for occasional longer trips.
That’s not to be confused with a plug-in hybrid model, due in late 2020 or early 2021, likely bearing the fruits of a development venture with Toyota.
Mazda future powertrains
Although the EV will be revealed at Tokyo, it’s California where the model may be most important—and, potentially, Europe. The carmaker is under pressure to to put a plug-in vehicle on sale by the end of this year, under California ZEV regulations—now under federal challenge—that require a modest portion of vehicle sales have zero tailpipe emissions. All the while, it's a relatively small automaker on the world stage, so it needs to use scarce development resources on models that will work with multiple markets.
We’d be surprised to see the EV and range-extended version make a bow at the same time; look for the latter, perhaps, at the LA auto show, later this fall.