Mazda has a long and proud history of doing things differently. It is a strategy that has delivered some great cars, and crucially for us, some great driver’s cars. So it comes as no surprise that Mazda has approached electrification in its own way.
The MX-30 is a crossover coupe with suicide rear doors and an unfashionably small battery. With just 35.5 kWh to play with it manages 124 miles on the official test which translates to over 100 miles in the real world. That isn’t much compared to key rivals but it is more than enough for lots of people.
Mazda has chosen to stick with a smaller battery because keeping the kerb weight down is fundamental to its philosophy. In the case of the MX-30 that means 1,645 kg. That might not sound light but it is compared to long range EVs. The good news is that you can feel that (relative) lack of weight as soon as you find a corner and the ride quality also benefits.
The MX-30 also drives very differently to other EVs because Mazda has intentionally made it feel like an ICE car. What that means is that you don’t get the instant hit of torque but rather performance builds more gradually. Is that clever or really stupid? Well it does negate one of the defining features of going EV, but Mazda argue that customers can be put off by the sometimes savage acceleration and want a more laid back approach. It also means that the front wheel drive layout doesn’t suffer any torque steer which plagues most front wheel drive EVs.
There are some other quirks, such as the Japanese spec onboard charger which limits Fast charging to 6.6 kW rather than the standard 7.4 kW and Rapid charging being limited to 40 kW rather than the industry standard 50 kW. What does that mean in practice? Well the Mazda takes a bit longer than it should to recharge but at least the modest battery capacity keeps charging times respectable.
The MX-30 does pretty much everything on its own terms. It doesn’t drive like an EV and for some that will be a major let down, for others it will be the reason they choose the Mazda. The modest battery does translate into a lighter car and does translate into a better drive, but frustratingly it isn’t as efficient as it should be; 190 Wh/km really isn’t great and in the context of the performance on offer it is downright bad. That surprising thirst combined with the battery means that range will be an issue for some and that is where faster Rapid charging would be very welcome.
We applaud Mazda for picking a different path, but has the MX-30 got too many quirks? Perhaps.
Estimated real world range: 100 – 124 miles
Official range: 124 miles
Official electricity consumption: 190 Wh/km
Battery pack: 35.5 kWh (gross) lithium ion; 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty
Recharge time: 240v 15 hours 8 mins; 6.6 kW charge approx 5 hours; Rapid CCS 40 kW 36 mins (20 – 80%)
Please note that CO2 emissions quoted for electric cars are not directly comparable to diesel and petrol cars. This is because CO2 emissions quoted are calculated by Green Car Guide and include the emissions created at the power station turning fuel (e.g. gas etc) into electricity and in transmitting and distributing the electricity to an end user. They do not include the actual production of the fuel (e.g. gas extraction and refinery emissions). Petrol and diesel emissions are supplied by car manufacturers and are based solely on the fuel burnt in the engine (tailpipe emissions) and do not include the production of the fuel or distribution to a fuel station. In practice this means that electric car emissions are over-estimated relative to petrol and diesel. For instance if an electric car, a petrol car, and a diesel car are all reported to emit 100 g/km CO2, the electric car actually has lower emissions.