Once again, Mazda is going it alone with its first electric car, the MX-30. Where competitors can never get enough when it comes to battery size, the Japanese are putting their money on “rightsizing”, where a range suited to daily use has to be enough in favour of less weight and a smaller carbon footprint. Not much of a problem, if they didn’t also give up the associated benefit.
In actual fact, the powerful lithium-ion battery in the vehicle floor, only producing 35.5 kWh, can only be charged via a single-phase supply with the on-board alternating current charger, meaning that a full charge takes close to 4.5 hours.
But customers demanding good looks will immediately have a problem with this. Anyway, you can still hanker after beautiful things. Mazda designs definitely have an assured sense of style, extending to the concept for their first electric crossover. As its name suggests, the 4.4-metre-long MX-30 has a solid, elegant body, and a roof similar to a coupé. The most striking difference comes with the rear doors, which open the other way, revealing the back seat like a welcoming sofa, and the 90-degree opening makes getting into the back a dream.
Cork, recycled plastic and vegan leather
The interior is one of the MX-30’s best features. Not just because the cockpit, fittings and materials are premium quality and everything is wonderful to touch. What attracts the eye is the “floating” central console, housing the gear lever and the dial for the 8.8-inch infotainment screen on the dash and another 7-inch touchscreen for the air conditioning.
Removing the transmission tunnel has allowed for the creation of an extra storage space underneath. Like the compartment in front of the console, it’s cork-covered – in homage to the origins of the Japanese company as a cork producer, going back to 1920 under the name of Toyo Cork Kogyo Co. And then there are the fabrics made from recycled PET bottles and specially developed synthetic white and brown leather, hardly distinguishable from real leather due to its classic structure and silicone coating.
And for environmentalists: the idea of restricting the battery size comes from a desire not to burden the MX-30 right from the start with a mediocre carbon footprint due to the extremely high level of CO2involved in producing a large battery. The beneficial secondary effect of this is a “limited” weight of 310 kg added to the total weight of close to 1.7 tonnes. But, according to the NEDC combined standard, the Saft battery isn’t enough to go for 237 km (200 km according to the WLTP measurement). Anyone knowing their own mobility needs and where they can recharge their vehicle on a regular basis will certainly be able to accommodate this. Anyway, you won’t be doing any explosive acceleration in the MX-30. The relatively small battery is actually connected to an electric motor of the same calibre, delivering a modest 145 horsepower (107 kW). As is often the case with electric cars, drive and deceleration can only be controlled by the motor pedal in the MX-30. You depress it for full acceleration, and energy recovery is progressive as you release the pedal and touch the brake.
The MX-30 skimps on nothing when it comes to safety. Quite the opposite: the vehicle’s electronic assistance solutions have been beefed up. For example, the Emergency Brake Assist doesn’t now simply detect pedestrians and cyclists, but also warns of imminent collision via an additional intersection function
on changing direction.
To summarise: The Mazda MX-30 is out there on its own. Lovers of aesthetic refinement will appreciate the pleasing lines and proportions inside and out, whilst the ecology-minded among you will appreciate the more environmentally friendly battery production and use of recycled materials. For everyday drivers who prefer a bit of zip, it will definitely lack power and range.
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Image source: Mazda
Text source: Ampnet