Mazda isn’t a pioneer in electric vehicles, having previously insisted that there’s still plenty of life in the internal combustion engine, which the company is striving to improve. But the Hiroshima-based carmaker is jumping on the EV bandwagon now – Automotive News reports that Mazda will unveil a full electric vehicle at next month’s Tokyo Motor Show.

This was revealed to the publication by Mazda spokesperson Yoshikazu Nagai. Mazda has prepared prototypes with the electric powertrain for test drives and plans to start selling the battery-powered vehicle next year, the report adds. A 2020 debut fits in with previous reports, which quoted CEO Akira Marumoto as saying that Mazda would introduce its first EV next year, before putting plug-in hybrids on sale in 2021 or 2022.

The prototypes are hiding the EV architecture under the CX-30 crossover’s body with “Mazda e-TPV” (Electric Technology Prove-Out Vehicle) stickers, but the show car we will see in Tokyo will be a “brand new model” according to the company. No confirmation on what bodystyle the EV will adopt.

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The Autonews report adds that the test mules are powered by a 35.5 kWh battery, pushing out 140 hp (105 kw) and 264 Nm of torque. This is said to be Mazda’s internal development, separate from the joint development work the company is doing as part of a Toyota-led EV consortium. Founded in 2017, the EV alliance includes Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota’s supplier Denso.

It is added that the upcoming Mazda EV will be available in two forms — a fully electric version and one with a range extender. The full EV will be for markets such as Japan, Europe and China; while the RE version is seen as necessary for North America and other markets where daily commutes are longer.

The range extender in question is expected to be powered by a small rotary engine, putting a unique Mazda spin to things. For a more in-depth look into Mazda’s EV plans and the rationale behind using the rotary engine as the RE, check out our takeaways from the Mazda Technology Briefing 2018. Not long more till all is unveiled in Tokyo.

GALLERY: Mazda e-TPV electric prototype