Mazda has revealed its first full battery-powered car, the MX-30 crossover. It’s the same length and width as the combustion-driven CX-30 but stands 30mm taller, and is quite different to look at.
High shoulders and a set of boxier, straighter lines frame rear doors of the same style used on the RX-8 rotary-powered sports car. These rear-hinged half-doors permit full-size front doors while still giving good access to the rear; the trade-off being that you have to open the front doors to get at the rear ones in the first place.
Interestingly, Mazda has gone down the same route as Honda with its dinky electric e supermini, deciding not to use as big a battery as it could. According to WLTP testing, the MX-30’s 35.5kWh battery pack is good for 124 miles of range; a figure that has caused rumblings of discontent among potential buyers before.
Mazda says that range more than quadruples the European average daily mileage, but drivers are not yet content en mass to drop from 300-600 miles of fuel tank range to just 100 or so before range anxiety stops play. Mazda knows it, and openly states that it sees the MX-30 as a ‘second family car’ – a job that usually involves less mileage and a life spent almost totally in traffic.
Maxda’s other reasoning for using a smaller battery includes dynamics. By keeping weight as low as possible (for a BEV), the firm says it has been able to maintain the signature Mazda qualities of a responsive chassis and lively handling. Double the range and you spoil the drive. On that note, Mazda hasn’t released power or performance figures yet.
Inside the MX-30 there are surfaces and upholstery made from eco-friendly materials, including replacing ‘much’ real leather with vegan alternatives. Even the cork around the ‘floating’ centre console is sourced in a sustainable way.
There’s also a sound system that actively emits fake motor noise, matching its pitch and ‘pressure’ to what you’re doing with the throttle. Mazda says this aural input helps drivers keep the otherwise hushed car at a constant speed without needing to keep looking at the speedometer.
The MX-30 name was chosen as a direct reference to the size of the car, aligning to the CX-30 between the CX-3 and CX-5, and also to the ‘MX’ prefix that Mazda reserves for cars that ‘challenge assumptions.’