Being late to the game of electrification has its upsides, you get to learn from the mistakes of others and reap from the rapidly advancing EV technologies. Mazda is now making up for lost time with the all-electric MX-30.
First things first, the name. Mention MX and most would think of the Miata. But way back in 1991, Mazda also produced a coupe (based on the 323 platform) called the MX-3, it was sporty and quirky but like many indulgences of that era, the business case wasn’t strong enough to justify its continued existence.
The all-electric MX-30 isn’t only first fully electric car developed in-house, but one that Mazda hopes to propagate globally in numbers. According to Mazda, the MX-30 was developed to represent a ‘new value’ for EVs, just like what the Miata MX-5 does for sports cars. And like many of the current offerings, the MX-30 is styled and packaged to win over hearts by being ‘human centric’ in its design.
Mazda concedes that the choice of a crossover has to do with the fact that this taller body-style offers more room to stack battery cells on the floor, besides people do love SUVs these days, but there’s a twist. Mazda is audacious enough to give the MX-30 a pair of wide-opening ‘freestyle’ doors by taking a page out of the discontinued RX-8. Mazda says that the rear-hinged doors allows users more freedom to maximise the utilisation of the cabin and to aid entry to the sofa-like rear seats.
A minimalist theme is chosen for the interior, not dissimilar to the new generation Mazda3 but with the introduction of a by-wire, electronic gear selector and a touch screen for the air-con controls. What’s unique is the use of sustainable materials in the cabin, you can find cork lining the surfaces around the centre console, but why you may ask. Mazda was founded in 1920 as the Toyo Cork Kogyo company producing cork bottle caps!
Relatively modest range, but there could be a twist coming soon
During the press unveiling, Mazda was silent on the technical specifications of the MX-30, perhaps it has to do with the modest range of 200 km from its 35.5 kWh lithium ion battery pack, and its 140 hp and 265 Nm power output from a single electric motor driving the front wheels.
Yes, nothing much to shout about but on one of the slides during the media reveal, a rotary engine range extender is shown as being planned, not to power the wheels directly but to act as a generator to charge up batteries.
Not only does it play to Mazda’s heritage, the rotary engine is also quieter and more refined than conventional engines that use the cylinder as its main moving part. Additionally, the rotational structure of the rotary engine means that it can be integrated with the electric motor as a single, compact unit; a solution that Mazda says can be deployed in a plug-in or series hybrid.
The all-electric MX-30 is planned for introduction in Europe by the second half of 2020, before making its way to other countries.
Mazda MX-30 image gallery