Electric Mazda MX-30: price, specs, pictures and on-sale date
Production of Mazda's first fully electric car, the MX-30, began on 19 May at the brand's Ujina plant in Hiroshima. Initially, the range in the UK will be limited to 500 'First Edition' models. This version costs from £27,495, including the government’s plug-in car grant, with pre-orders being taken now.
The MX-30 was revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2019, and while First Edition pre-orders are now open, UK customer deliveries aren't expected until early 2021. More affordable SE-L and Sport models are expected at a later date; pricing for those will be announced later in 2020.
Mazda confirmed in July 2020 that it had selected NewMotion as its preferred charging point supplier for the MX-30. In addition to being recommended for the supply of home wallbox charging points, NewMotion will also give MX-30 owners access to its UK network of over 2,500 charging points, including over 1,000 rapid chargers. NewMotion also offers access to 155,000 charge points across 35 countries in Europe.
First Edition cars get a head-up display, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a leather steering wheel and a seven-inch digital display within the dials. The MX-30 will also feature a touchscreen air-conditioning panel and a cork-lined centre console tray. Colour-wise, the Mazda MX-30 will be available in Ceramic Metallic or Polymetal Grey Metallic, while the First Edition can also be ordered in three-tone Ceramic Metallic (£950), or three-tone Soul Red Crystal Metallic (£1,250). Customers ordering a MX-30 First Edition will also qualify for a free home wallbox.
Mazda MX-30 range, battery and performance
The Mazda features a 35.5kWh battery, which equates to a range of around 124 miles. The maximum AC charging speed is given as 6.6kW, meaning a full top-up from a home wallbox should take around six hours. Additionally, the DC socket allows for rapid charging, with a top up to 80% capacity taking as little as 40 minutes.
An 141bhp electric motor drives the front wheels, although Mazda hasn’t yet given full performance figures. We’d expect the MX-30 to hit 0-62mph in eight to 10 seconds and have a top speed in the region of 100mph.
The MX-30’s design is similar to that of Mazda’s other SUVs, following the language used on the latest CX-5. Mazda says the front face – with its minimalist grille – “bears a friendly expression”, with the look set to be adopted on the latest Mazda3 hatchback, too.
The MX-30 has rear-hinged rear doors, similar to those on the BMW i3. It’s thought that they make the rear seats more accessible, however one drawback is that rear passengers aren't able to get out without the front doors also being opened. The company claims the car's interior design gives occupants a sense of being "enveloped in openness", with materials chosen on the basis of "comfort and eco-friendliness".
The upper section of the car's interior door panel is trimmed in a reprocessed fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, while the 'Premium Vintage Leatherette' seat trim is made using water rather than organic solvents. It features a vintage leather texture printed onto an artificial leather base, then a silicone coating with a precisely controlled surface layer thickness applied. Mazda says this gives the material an appearance of depth and a pleasing tactile quality.
Mazda is keen to draw comparisons between the MX-30 and other MX-badged models from its history – both concepts and production cars. Mazda says that the "MX prefix is given to a car that takes on a challenge to create and deliver new values without being confined by convention, regardless of vehicle type.
Hybrid versions planned
Plug-in hybrid range-extender and hybrid versions of the MX-30 are also planned: the former will see the battery twinned with a rotary engine and a small fuel tank, while the latter will contain a much smaller battery and a larger fuel tank.
The Wankel rotary engine that will be used in the range-extender and hybrid versions of the MX-30 has something of a cult following, thanks to its radical approach to internal combustion. While most engines use pistons that move up and down, a rotary engine uses triangular-shaped pistons that rotate around a central shaft.
This produces a high power-to-weight ratio, and the compact nature of the engine makes it ideal for use in an electric vehicle, where packaging requirements can put space at a premium.
The prototype version of the Mazda MX-30 has a CX-30 body and is called the e-TPV, but make no mistake: work on the all-electric powertrain underneath is at an advanced stage ahead of the car’s debut in Japan in 2020. On the road, the MX-30 prototype feels like a conventional petrol or diesel car. The modest amount of power and torque means acceleration isn’t quite as immediate as on most electric vehicles these days.
Nor is it as silent as you might expect an electric car to be. There’s a faint whir from the motor, while Mazda has developed a feature called EV Sound, which uses artificial audio to communicate how much torque you’re using at any given stage. The electric-guitar-like noise could well add some drama along a fast B-road, however it could be more of an annoyance in stop-start traffic around town. Fortunately, drivers will have the option to switch it off.
The MX-30’s best feature is its brakes. The transition between regenerative braking – which recycles energy back into the battery in order to boost range – and the actual brake pads is outstanding. It may even be the best we’ve ever experienced in an electric car. Meanwhile, in typical Mazda fashion, the ride is firm but not overly harsh. We’ll have to wait until we’ve driven it on UK roads at speed before we can deliver a final verdict, however.