Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd. is the oldest Japanese car manufacturer, mostly known for its range of smaller models and off-road vehicles. Daihatsu has had a long running development program for electric vehicles, beginning with the production of "pavilion cars" for the 1970 Osaka World Expo and continuing with the production of golf carts and vehicles for institutional use. The 1973 oil crisis provided further motivation. At the 20th Tokyo Motor Show (1973) Daihatsu displayed the BCX-III electric car prototype. Among the models produced by Daihatsu was the second generation Daihatsu Charade which was released in March 1983 as a three- or a five-door hatchback. It featured several variations of the 3-cylinder 1.0 L engine, including a turbocharged version diesel and turbo-diesel versions. The turbo diesel first appeared in the fall of 1984. The base Charades received the naturally aspirated, three cylinder, 993 cc CB23 engine with around 50-55 PS. 0-60 mph takes around 12–13 seconds. Japanese market models had twin carburettors as standard, while most export versions received a single unit which made marginally less power.

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