Mazda Demio. Click to enlarge.

Mazda Motor Corporation will provide three Mazda Demios (Mazda2s) for conversion to EVs for a project in collaboration with Itochu Corporation and other companies in conjunction with Tsukuba City to test a low-carbon transport system which uses clean energy. The Tsukuba Environmental Style Test Project is scheduled to commence in March 2010 in Tsukuba city, near Tokyo, Japan.

The project aims to comprehensively assess a low-carbon energy network composed of electric vehicles (EVs), rapid chargers, fixed battery stations, solar panels and a car sharing service. Mazda will assist in determining optimum vehicle specifications and evaluating vehicle performance.

Mazda has adopted a policy to comprehensively improve its internal combustion engines and then progressively combine them with electric devices. This process includes the i-stop idling stop system, regenerative braking and hybrid systems. Through its participation in the Tsukuba Environmental Style Test Project, Mazda aims to further strengthen the base of its future R&ampD activities.

Main initiatives of the Tsukuba Environmental Style Test Project (each initiative will be the first case in Japan) include:

  • Testing the viability of reusing EV batteries in fixed battery stations.
  • Testing a model to optimally use renewable energy in EVs and in participating stores. The project will use information and communications technologies (ICT) in conjunction with control and electricity storage technology to develop an effective system to optimally use electricity that is generated through solar panels, stored in fixed battery stations and supplied to EVs and participating stores.
  • Test the viability of a new EV car sharing system to accelerate the establishment of a low-carbon transport society.

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Participating organizations in the project include:

  • Itochu Corporation: project leader
  • Family Mart: Provide sites for the project at convenience stores
  • Itochu Enex: Provide sites for the project at service stations
  • Tokyo R&ampD: Electric vehicles
  • Th!nk (Norway): Electric vehicles
  • Kyuki: Rapid chargers
  • EnerDel Inc. (US): Vehicle batteries and fixed batteries
  • Seiko Electric: Fixed battery system integration
  • Itochu Techno-Solutions: ICT technology, data center
  • Windcar Car: sharing service
  • Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation: car sharing-related
  • Nippon Car Solutions: Car sharing
  • Ecosystem Japan: Solar panel systems
  • Mazda Motor Corporation: Electric vehicles)

The advisory committee for the project includes Tsukuba City, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI), and The Japan Research Institute, Limited.