The fight to be crowned the first mass producer of an extended-range electric vehicle [E-REV] is on, folks. The waiting list for the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt is now about 40,000 eager-buyers long, and fellow auto makers want a piece of the action. Today, Autocar UK reported that inside sources have confirmed that Mazda is currently developing an E-REV of their own. Powered dually by a rotary engine and rechargeable battery pack, the Mazda plug-in prototype is housed within a Mazda 5 MPV body shell. Trial runs have already begun, but the Mazda E-REV’s future release is hindered by the same obstacle almost all the electric vehicle manufacturers are facing: the exorbitant cost of the requisite batteries.
Although the most recent entrant into the fray, Mazda isn’t the only auto manufacturer in direct competition with the Chevy Volt. Toyota, which has been GM’s most notorious rival in the hybrid market, has already announced plans to introduce their plug-in Prius to fleet sales in 2009, a year earlier than originally planned.
Nissan has also been putting in long hours toiling over their future electric car offering. In addition to an electric-hybrid version of the future Nissan Cube, Nissan is also working on a pure electric hybrid, rumored to be the production version of the electric Nissan Mixim concept car, previewed at the Frankfurt auto show. Referred to internally as the EV-1, Nissan has announced tenative plans to offer the Mixim EV alongside the Cube EV in test fleets by 2010.