The all-electric 2020 Mazda MX-30 unveiled this week at the Tokyo Motor Show drew reactions from the attending auto media ranging from “quirky” to “sporty” to “rebel”.
Mazda’s first production electric vehicle, the MX-30 has been described as based on the soon-to-be released compact crossover CX-30.
It is the first to bring to market Mazda’s purely electric e-SkyActiv platform, which will become the basis for an electrified version of all its models by 2030.
Designed with the Japanese concept of jinba-ittai (which refers to the oneness between horse and rider) in mind, the MX-30 integrates human-centric thinking bringing forth a number of design features to make the MX-30 driving experience as smooth as possible.
For example, a rear suicide door – more aptly called “freestyle doors” by Mazda – that the Japanese carmaker has used before on the RX-8, is intended to give a feeling of ease form the moment one enters the car.
And there is the hip interior in which Mazda has utilised a number of materials including recycled plastic used in the manufacture of the seat fabric and cork, left over from old wine bottles, used in the centre console and to add a soft touch to door grips.
Design touches such as a “floating floor console” add a feeling of space and a 7 inch touchscreen in the centre of the console allows “closer communication between car and driver” (although to be honest, positioned as it is right behind the gear shift this might not be that friendly to use).
But along with the environmentally conscious approach to interior styling and the thoughtful touch of extra space when entering the car, Mazda has also created a vehicle that should fit happily within the sporty compact SUV market.
Specifics like torque and power have not yet been revealed by the Japanese carmaker but based on the E-TPV prototype it should have about 105kW power output, and 260Nm torque.
With a 35.5kW battery, a 50kW maximum charging rate on a DC fast-charger using either a CCS2 or CHAdeMO plug type (depending on market), and 6.6kW charging at home, it will compare to the short range Hyundai Kona Electric with 28kWh battery and up to 280km range – although its WLTP-rated 200km range may prove tight for some.
It is understood that Mazda Australia is keen to introduce the MX-30 to Australia, although when and if that actually comes to fruition is yet to be seen – and even so, it would need to be priced favourably against the Nissan Leaf which has up to 210km range and starts at just under $A50,000 before on road costs.
In Australia, the only electric SUV currently available is the Hyundai Kona Electric. Hyundai has made the choice to bring only the long range 64kWh Kona Electric with 480km range – so let’s hope that Mazda decides to bring a long range version of the MX-30 here to match.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.