The Blaze EV Classic went on sale on Wednesday in Japan, giving a new mobility option to people who want a small electric runabout with the styling of a 1930s sports car. Actually, car might not be the right word for it, because the single-seater is so tiny it can be registered as a moped in Japan, bypassing the country's notoriously strict roadworthiness inspections and expensive vehicle taxes.
Despite its looks, it's not particularly fast. Maximum output is 4 horsepower and 21 lb-ft of torque. Even when combined with a 441-pound curb weight, the EV Classic maxes out at about 31 mph. But, that will probably feel plenty fast when you're zipping around rush-hour Tokyo with your butt just inches from the pavement. Plus, according to the website, it possesses the "torqueful acceleration" only an EV can deliver (and we now have a new favorite adjective).
The EV Classic has no doors, no windshield, and only four outboard 17-inch tires wrapped around wire spoke wheels to protect you from the Hino in the neighboring lane. Anything bigger than a Honda Monkey will dwarf this car. At 92 inches long, it's 3½ feet shorter than a kei car. At 46 inches wide, it occupies 70 percent the width of a Smart ForTwo. Without the headrest, it's shorter than a mountain bike.
Prior to this, Blaze was primarily a maker of electric scooters and bikes. Like those, the EV Classic can be charged with a standard (in Japan) 100-volt household outlet. It takes 8 hours for a full charge from zero, and it'll cost you, according to Blaze, about a dollar for each top-off. It's most definitely a city car, with just a 31-mile range.
Now, if you're thinking you want a Blaze of your own, you're out of luck unless you live in Japan. If you do, it'll set you back about $8,500. That's not cheap, but Blaze fully expects the EV Classic to be a second or third car for most owners. It comes in four colors — silver, red, black, and olive green. We probably would buy one of our own, but it looks like tremendous fun to borrow a friend's for an afternoon and fly through town collecting bugs in your teeth.