Tokyo Motor Show: Mazda Will debut Its First Electric Car

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Within the next two years, Mazda may reintroduce a rotary engine to its lineup as a range extender for an upcoming electric vehicle. There is no surprise that crossovers and SUVs are seen as the drivers of the planned growth. And yet unlike quite a few far larger OEMs, Mazda wants to remain strong in cars. Over recent years, every model it has launched has won acclaim and sold well. Now, even though none of its vehicles could be called stale, a fresh cycle of product rollouts is about to commence, the next-generation Mazda3 soon to have a global premiere at the LA auto show. The term ‘all-new’ is accurate with not only the body but the platform and a revolutionary engine being fresh designs which will be the basis of most new Mazdas for the 2020s.

Honda has sparked its EV journey and the Sports EV and the Urban EV will be its forerunners in the electric game. The Sports EV is a two-door low-slung coupe tilting towards performance and style, housing with low beam 9007 led bubs, white foglight and taillight. The Urban EV concept, with its retro-futuristic style, has already won many hearts. Being a city car, it will certainly be peppy and should get at least 200kms of range in a single charge.

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The RX is a classic concept car profile, stretching out the two-door, rear-wheel-drive sports car silhouette with a cartoonishly l-n-g bonnet and a firmly cab-backward stance. It’s hunkered down low and at nearly 4.4m long this occupies the same footprint as a Jag F-type, with more than a hint of Italianate proportions. In fact, from some angles, you can squint and see a hint of Maserati, not Mazda.

A range-extender option is also being developed for certain markets. Although specs haven’t been confirmed, there is speak of the fuel-powered range-extender comprising of an all-new rotary engine. This would be the first rotary engine for a series production car in quite some time. Mazda has previously toyed with the idea of a rotary for use as a range-extender, but it is yet to offer such a system for global markets.

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For EVs, GVC+ will likely be used to control vehicle behavior using electric motors and brakes, overdriving or slowing down the wheels as needed. One of the engineers mentioned that the system will allow for “seamless torque control” in EVs, which should enable the car to put the power down more efficiently. Other automakers, Tesla included, are already using similar tactics with electric motors, as we observed in the Model 3 Performance with track mode, which can tweak power output to the rear wheels to allow the car to rotate better.

Honda has unveiled its latest iteration of the Clarity hydrogen fuel cell vehicle ( FCV ). This redesigned version will be available for sale (previous generations of the Clarity were only available on lease) for the first time and is slated to go on sale in Japan from March 2016, followed by launches in the United States and Europe. The sale price of the car in Japan will be JPY7.6 million ($63, 970) (including consumption tax).

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