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Mazda to Launch an Electric Car in 2019

The list of automakers making the EV leap continues to grow. Mazda plans to debut an electric car in roughly two years.

In November, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai told The Wall Street Journal the company plans to “accommodate ZEV [zero-emission vehicle] regulations in North America” by 2019. Kogai was most likely referring to California’s zero-emission vehicle mandate, enacted to push the sale of electric cars in an effort to meet California’s goals of cleaner air and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Mazda is part of a second tier of carmakers that must begin adhering to the mandate in 2018.

In May 2015, the automaker signed a technical agreement with Toyota to collaborate on products, manufacturing and technologies, part of a rush of car manufacturers aiming to share development costs amid increasingly strict emissions standards. Toyota is believed to be supplying Mazda with powertrain components for future hybrid and plug-in hybrid models.

According to reports, Mazda’s first electric car will be low-volume, with an optional rotary engine range extender. CarAdvice quoted Mazda’s Head of Research and Development Kiyoshi Fujiwara as saying, “Probably by 2020 globally, five to 10 percent [of vehicle sales] will be pure EV, while the other 95-90 will still use ICE (internal combustion engine). Therefore, ICE is [still] the most important technology all over the world.”

Along with other small car manufacturers, Mazda fought for plug-in hybrids to be included in the “zero-emission vehicle” category, alongside battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell cars.

No word yet on what kind of electric car Mazda is planning to debut. Zoom zoom.

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