Mazda Introducing its First EV Next Month

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【Summary】Electric vehicles are the way forward and Mazda wants to join the electric-vehicle party with a new model that’s set to debut at the Tokyo Auto Show.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Oct 31, 2019 6:00 AM PT
Mazda Introducing its First EV Next Month
The fully-electric Mazda "e-TPV" prototype is based on the CX-5.

Electric vehicles are in. Nearly every automaker has plans to come out with electric vehicles and most have at least one electrified option – whether it's a hybrid or plug-in hybrid – in its lineup. One brand that's been incredibly quiet on the electric front is Mazda. 

The Japanese automaker doesn't have a single hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or an all-electric vehicle in its lineup. Instead, Mazda just unveiled a diesel version of the CX-5, which is kind of like going in the opposite direction. However that's going to change, as Mazda has plans to come out with its first electric vehicle, which will be unveiled in October.

Mazda's First EV Coming Next Month
Mazda will get onto the electric train with an all-new model, not an electric variant of a current vehicle, reports Automotive News. The new, and first electric vehicle ever from the brand, will make its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. While Mazda's first EV will be a new model, there's a good chance the vehicle will be a small crossover or a hatchback. SUVs and crossovers are popular in the U.S. and there's a high number of electric crossovers coming to the market recently – the Hyundai Kona EV, Audi e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQ, and Jaguar I-Pace. The automaker has also been testing its electric technology in a CX-30, so there's a good chance it wouldn't want to change things up as it reaches the final stages.
For its prototypes, the outlet claims that Mazda has been using a 35.5 kWh battery pack that produces roughly 143 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Those figures aren't great – the Chevrolet Bolt has approximately 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque – but it all depends on the EV's size. If it's a small urban-only electric car, then that kind of power would make plenty of sense. The electric prototype's power figure also hints toward what kind of range we could expect to see from the vehicle. With that kind of power onboard, it's likely that range will fall below the 250-mile mark. If true, that would make Mazda's first EV a competitor to the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, and Volkswagen eGolf.

Mazda's upcoming electric vehicle won't be its last, as the brand has plans to electrify 95 percent of its lineup by 2030 .

Two Versions Are Coming
According to Auto News, Mazda will offer its electric vehicle in two variants: a fully-electric one and a model with a range extender. The battery-only model will only be available in a few markets, including China, Europe, and Japan. The second option is one that could make its way to the United States and use a rotary engine as the range extender. The primary reason for the decision to add a range extender in the U.S. is because drives in the country tend to be longer than those in others.
Mazda was once a champion of rotary technology in the country, but hasn't manufactured a vehicle with a rotary engine in the country since the RX-8 was discontinued back in 2012. Rotary engines are tiny, but they're not exactly efficient. They also tend to require a lot of maintenance. So adding one as a part of an electrified powertrain makes sense. 
Despite Mazda's partnership with Toyota to work on electric vehicles, the outlet states that the upcoming electric car is being engineered internally. The partnership, which includes Subaru, Suzuki, and automotive supplier Denso Corp., was formed in 2017. With Toyota's rich history of making hybrids, it's interesting to see Mazda go down the route of keeping everything in-house instead of asking its partner for assistance.

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