Mazda recently announced plans to lease Demio EVs to Japanese government officials and businesses starting in October. The Demio EV combines Mazda’s in-house electric drive with the familiar frame of the Demio or Mazda2. Government and corporate fleets in the Chugoku region qualify for leases priced from $44,746 per vehicle. The headquarters for Mazda Motor Corporation resides in Chugoku, allowing the automaker to keep track of leased EVs over the next two years. Mazda only plans production of about 100 Demio EVs at this point though a successful test run could encourage a more ambitious release.
The Demio EV uses a 75 kW electric motor designed by Mazda for optimal consumption of power and space. Electric motors used by existing models like the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt often tend toward lower torque due to technical constraints. Mazda employed coil-switching technology in the Demio EV to alternate between low and high torque.
This technology allows a driver to access low torque during city commutes while kicking the motor into high gear for highway driving. An important consequence of coil-switching technology is stronger acceleration compared to competing EVs. Mazda also notes that the motor only weighs 419 pounds compared to the vehicle’s curb weight of 2,601 pounds.
Mazda also incorporated a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery pack into the Demio EV that maintains cargo room while providing ample power. The typical pack should maintain at least 80% capacity through five years based on Mazda’s lab simulations.
Drivers experience smooth handling around tight corners thanks to the battery pack’s location under the rear seats. The Demio EV can travel up to 124 miles per charge in a mixture of highway and city driving. Mazda claims that the Demio EV can be recharged in eight hours using a standard household outlet and about an hour with a 50kW quick-charging station.
Leaseholders will help Mazda determine the effectiveness of the Demio EV’s multi-drive system. Each driver selects between the D, E and Change Switch options through the central console. The D mode acts as a default where the electric motor balances between fuel economy and powerful acceleration.
Drivers in E mode activate regenerative braking and enhanced power management to increase battery range. This mode collects a higher amount of kinetic energy from the brakes and reduces power to auxiliary systems while sacrificing acceleration. The Charge Switch feature boosts regenerative braking to maximum levels when the Demio EV drives downhill.
The most impressive aspects of the Demio EV are accessories specifically designed for EV use. The Vehicle Proximity Notification System alerts pedestrians of the vehicle’s presence using simulated engine sounds. This system activates when the Demio EV travels below 15 miles per hour in anticipation of full stops and yields near pedestrians.
The air conditioning unit features a Positive Temperature Coefficient for efficient processing of incoming air. Mazda also includes a 100-volt power system in the trunk that acts as a generator for household electrical systems. Demio EV drivers can leverage battery power during power outages and camping trips thanks to this system.