Mazda’s all-electric MX-30 will arrive in Australia in mid-2021, following an early 2021 release of the mild-hybrid variant, the company’s Australian arm announced on Friday.
The pure electric version of the crossover will combine a relatively small 35.5kWh battery pack with a 107kW electric motor to deliver 224 kilometres driving range and 271Nm torque according to the company’s statement – noting the range is based on the (usually exaggerated) combined NEDC cycle, while Mazda’s European site states a WLTP range of 200-262km range.
The introduction of the MX-30 forms part of the Japanese car maker’s “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030” strategy first announced in 2018.
Mazda’s decision to embrace zero emissions electric drivetrain technology is refreshing considering it has previously touted adding a rotary “range extender” engine as part of its electric package.
While pricing and detailed specifications will be released closer to a launch date, there is no mention of the rotary this time around.
Instead, Mazda emphasises a “well to wheel” approach that looks to minimise CO2 emissions throughout the battery lifecycle, says the company, as well as integrating sustainable materials in the vehicle’s interior.
“MX-30 is the bold next step of Mazda’s Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 strategy,” said Mazda Australia managing director, Vinesh Bhindi in a statement.
“Combining modern design and sustainable, tactile interior materials, the MX-30 has been created to stimulate the senses and connect with the driver and its occupants.
“While furthering our ‘well to wheel’ emissions reduction strategy, the MX-30 remains a Mazda at heart: it is poised, agile and fun to drive with exceptional handling.”
While the MX-30’s range doesn’t sound like much, Mazda says this is more than enough for the average Australian daily commute, which is between 32-40km a day.
Mazda says the electric MX-30 takes about three hours to recharge on a 6.6kWh AC wall charger, or a little more than half-an-hour on a 50kWh DC fast charger.
However, as an electric crossover, its ability to compete with other competitors in the slim Australian EV market will depend on the price.
Its rivals include the Hyundai Kona Electric, which is priced from $59,900 before on-roads and has a driving range of 449km, and most recent entry to the local market, the MG ZS EV, which has a similar driving range to the MX-30 of 262km and is priced at a low $40,990 before on-roads.
But Mazda may seek to tempt customers instead with extra features, most notably the pillarless “freestyle” doors that take their cue from the RX-8. Both doors open from the centre allowing for greater access in particular to the “couch-like” rear seats, a feature we’ve seen before on the BMW i3.
Inside, the interior uses sustainable cork-derived materials that have been harvested without cutting the tree down, while leather-style materials made without the use of solvents give “a tactile quality and premium appearance while being kind to the environment,” the company says.
Upper door trims made from recycled PET bottles and fabric seats using 20% recycled threads complete the sustainable interior picture.
For the technology-minded, Mazda has added two touchscreen displays. A central 7-inch touchscreen shows climate control while the 8.8 widescreen acts an as “information centre”, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Safety-wise, drivers are reassured with a Euro NCAP 5 star rating (a local rating is yet to be confirmed), and driver assist features include turn-across traffic and brake support systems, as well as “road keep” assist which Mazda says works even on streets without lane markings.
In a collision, the EV battery will shut off automatically, while a high-strength rigid steel frame protects it from impact.
Before the all-electric version arrives, drivers will first see the mild-hybrid version, which has reduced petrol consumption due to the vehicle’s ability to recover energy while braking.
“We are looking forward to seeing MX-30 in Mazda dealerships next year,” Bhindi said.
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.