By on January 25, 2011

Mazda has so far been, well, reluctant when it came to newfangled powertrains. Now they can’t help it any longer and announce their intention to jump on the electric train. Mazda announced today that it is working on a plug-in. It is an electrified version of what Mazda sells as the Demio in Japan, or as the Mazda2 in most other markets. The pluggable Mazda will be available in spring of 2012. In a way.

The electrified Mazda will have a range slightly better than the competition: 200 kilometers, or 124 miles. Nevertheless, Mazda thinks the public isn’t ready for it.

The car will be leased mainly to local government and corporate users. ”Electric vehicles are useful for people who travel within a short distance,” Mazda President Takashi Yamanouchi said at a press conference in Tokyo, while The Nikkei [sub] was taking notes. In other words: Pizza delivery, low-ranking local government.

The car also won’t be cheap. The sticker of the car will be 2.5 million to 3 million yen ($30,000 to $36,000) – after subsidies. That’s about double the gasoline-powered option. No wonder they see only limited market potential in the car.

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