Today at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda revealed an extremely important product for it, the all-electric Mazda MX-30 crossover
Mazda is an interesting study, especially when it comes to their production of alternative-power vehicles, or more specifically when it comes to their powertrain choices, as they haven’t really produced any alternative-powered vehicles for mass consumption. There’s the CX-5 and the arrival this year – finally – of the arrival of the diesel-powered SKYACTIV-D version, but that came with the emissions magnifying glass aimed squarely at diesel cars after the foibles of VW, Ram and a few others.
Now, not a year after the diesel CX-5 became available, Mazda has already shifted focus away from the CX-5 and right to the MX-30, unveiled for the world today in Tokyo. It’s a full-EV vehicle and order books are already open, with deliveries starting early next year.
What makes it go
All we know about the power source for the brand’s first ever mass-production electric vehicle is that it gets a 35.5 kwh lithium-ion battery pack, and that it will be FWD as opposed to AWD. We don’t know official range numbers yet – and even if Mazda does, all they’re saying for the time being is that it will have around 200 km of range, meaning it’s leaning a bit more towards city car territory - 200 km isn’t exactly road trip territory. It does, however, have support for level 3 fast charging so if owners do want to go on longer drives, there is a little piece of mind there.
How it looks
When you consider the styling, however, that “city car” thing gets a little fuzzy. City cars are typically small runabouts and the MX-30 is roughly the size of the CX-5, a mid-to-compact crossover, depending on who you talk to.
What it does get, however, are the freestyle doors – the fronts open opposite from the backs – which is something that debuted on the RX-8 sports car and I guess brings the MX-30 back into a more compact crossover territory. The doors are a big stylistic addition because otherwise, the MX-30 looks more like the rest of the current Mazda family than you’d think a futuristic all-EV car might.
One of the big changes brought on by the EV motor, however, is the smaller grille as the EV motor isn’t cooled in the traditional sense – through a large radiator – and it’s the battery pack that needs the most cooling. It’s done so in the MX-30 through cooling tubes around the battery.
What it’s like inside
There, everything is styled to provide a feeling of airiness (the presentation was peppered with the phrases “breath of fresh air” and “clear mind”), achieved by features like a floating centre console and touch-activated HVAC controls, displayed on a 7-inch touchscreen. Or, if you prefer a more traditional form of interaction, there are buttons mounted around the display screen. Mazda has also designed the seats to ensure a seating position that provides the best possible view out for drivers.
Other efforts to enhance interior space and comfort include a storage area underneath the cargo floor – this is what’s possible when you have a FWD platform and don’t need drive components on the rear axle – as well as specially-shaped side and rear windows to help provide the best view out for drivers and passengers alike.
How it drives (we’re told)
Interior space is one thing, but if you really want to ensure that all occupants are comfortable throughout the trip, you need good handling characteristics, too.
For the MX-30, part of that revolves around the use of G-vectoring Control Plus technology, which uses the torque from the EV motor. For example: when a vehicle enters a right turn, weight will always get transferred to the left side of the car; it’s simply physics. What G-CGC Plus does is pre-emptively pull from the front to help the weight transfer to occur more smoothly. Other Mazdas have employed this tech before, but with the instant torque delivered by the electric motor, Mazda had to be sure that the effects are even further neutralized.
We’ll have to wait until closer to the launch next year for more information on pricing and specifications, but as mentioned before: if an all-EV Mazda CUV tickles your fancy, the order books are already open.