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Standard Mazda 2 hatchback
Most emissions-free driving yet

With several other automotive giants like Ford, Nissan and Chevrolet jumping on the EV, hybrid bandwagon, it's no surprise that Mazda is following suit with their solar-to-electric converted Mazda 2 test fleet in Tsukuba, Japan.

The converted Mazda 2 EV charges from a station that is powered by the sun's rays, making it an emissions-free vehicle. Mazda provided the cars, EnerDel produced the batteries and solar energy storage units, Think Global made all-electric drivetrains, and Itochu helped with the funding. 

"EnerDel's top quality battery systems provide a robust platform for rapid -recharge," said Murase Hiroaki, deputy manager battery business unit of Itochu Corporation. 

EnerDel's large batteries store the sun's energy with solar panels attached to stationary grid-storage units. When a vehicle is charging, the juice is sent out via direct current. This direct current can fill the car to 85 percent capacity in approximately 15 minutes.

"The integration of rapid charging, smart grid and electric vehicles is a crucial step in the transition to clean, efficient, low-carbon energy and transportation systems, and something that countries all over the world are moving toward," said Charles Gassenheimer, EnerDel parent company Ener1's CEO.

"This project also demonstrates how critical a secondary-use strategy is unlocking economic value that becomes a key driver for the EV battery industry."

Drivers testing the converted Mazda 2 will obtain smart cards used for tracking charges and wear, billing and gaining access to the cars and charging stations.  The vehicles will be part of a car-sharing program allowing users and potential buyers to reserve a converted Mazda 2 ahead of release time. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis. 





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