The 2022 Mazda MX-30 EV comes in two trims: MX-30 EV (MSRP: $33,470) and Premium Plus (MSRP: $36,480). Both models can receive an up to $7,500 Federal Tax Credit. They come with a $500 Chargepoint credit card and an 8-year battery warranty. The car is eligible for California’s High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) decal, allowing you access to the HOV lane even when you’re driving solo.
EPA-Estimated MPGe is 98 City / 85 Highway / 92 Combined. A rapid 80% charge of the battery takes place in just 36 minutes, but that’s because the battery capacity – 35.5kW – is small. Mazda’s first pure electric gets only 100 miles – a range that’s more in line with what you'd expect from a new EV in 2011, not 2022.
The car will spark interest with its streamlined exterior, nicely-designed interior, responsive steering and handling. But is this enough to compete in a pure electric marketplace with cars like the Ford Mustang Mach-E (379 EV miles), the Tesla Model 3 (360 EV miles), the VW ID.3 (336 EV miles), the Kona Electric (258 EV miles), the Audi Q-4 e-tron Sportback (241 EV miles) and (the Kia Niro (239 EV miles) – to name just a few?
One of the MX-30’s biggest competitors will be the Nissan Leaf Plus, which has an MSRP of $32,400 – $1,000 less than the MX-30’s MSRP. The Leaf Plus has a range of 226 pure electric miles, which is more than double the range of the MX-30.
Why the small battery? There’s a simple answer: a lot of Mazda drivers are eco-conscious: they’re aware that far more energy is expended by automakers to make large-battery cars than small battery cars. Cleantechnica.com writer Jennifer Sensiba explains: “Mazda knows that one of the most environmentally impactful elements of EV production is making battery cells. Sure, Mazda could have made one that had a battery 2 or 3 times larger, and got a lot more range. Instead, its first EV very intentionally only has a 100-mile range from a 35.5 kWh battery pack. This means that the vehicle will basically only get used locally, and maybe for short regional trips, but not much else.”
The same small battery approach has been used for Mini Cooper’s EV. The 2022 Mini Cooper SE has an EPA-estimated range or around 114 miles. Interestingly enough, the SE’s battery is 32.64kWh – smaller than the MX-30’s 35.5kWh battery. With a starting MSRP of $29,900, the Mini Cooper SE EV is close to $4,000 less to purchase or lease and its battery generates 14 more EV miles. Of course, it’s a much smaller car – it seats less passengers and has almost no cargo space.
Says Mazda concerning the reduction of emissions from manufacturing: “Mazda takes responsibility for the emissions produced by its cars, not just when they’re being driven, but also when they are made and when they reach the end of their use. To reduce the CO2 emissions during the entire life of the vehicle, Mazda uses a Life Cycle Assessment, which allows it to pinpoint areas that can reduce the environmental burden of car manufacture, delivery, use, and recycling.” Mazda has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality during the entire life cycle of its vehicles and the entire supply chain by 2050.
Cnet.com’s reviewer Craig Cole says: “The Japanese automaker is billing this vehicle as a small crossover, one aimed directly at eco-friendly urbanites that don’t venture too far from home.” The question is: will consumers agree?
In press releases, Mazda has made the case that it wants its MX-30 to be small and nimble, to “feel like a Mazda should” – the catchphrase it has used for years to sell its cars. By using a small battery instead of a big, heavy battery, the carmaker has kept the MX-30’s weight within a few hundred pounds of its conventional CX-30. The car’s weight is carried lower in the chassis, which provides great car stability and control. Also, the Japanese automaker has improved its G-Vectoring Control Plus dynamics and the car’s brake-by-wire systems, providing additional performance and agility for the EV’s powertrain.
Mazda is also planning to offer a small rotary-powered range extender for the vehicle, possibly in 2022. And a plug-in hybrid version of the MX-30 is also planned. Industry experts believe the PHEV will broaden the vehicle’s appeal.
The EV Mazda is considered a small SUV with a coupe-like roofline and rear-hinged back doors (sometimes referred to as “suicide doors”), just like those found on the BMW i3 EV, which is no longer manufactured. Mazda is selling the MX-30 only in California to start, then expanding to other states. Mazda will offer just 560 MX-30’s during its first year out in CA, which makes it sound like more of a compliance car than a serious attempt to enter the EV marketplace.
Keep in mind though that while the pandemic crushed new vehicle sales in 2020 for gigantic automakers like Ford, GM and Hondo, which all posted double digit declines, Mazda – the 13th-ranked carmaker in America – was one of just three automakers, including Tesla and Volvo, to increase sales. Says Brett Berkof the New York Times: “U.S. News and World Report, for the fifth year, made Mazda its Best Car Brand. Every one of its new models that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested was a Top Safety Pick, more than any other brand. It ranked No. 1 in a Consumer Reports survey on the most reliable new vehicles. And then this year, Mazda received the top spot in that magazine’s coveted Brand Report Card, based on a combined score that measures “road-test performance, predicted reliability, owner satisfaction and safety.”
Berk explains further: “Just as car shoppers are attracted to Jeeps for the perception of go-anywhere ability, and to BMWs for the idea of being able to drive at top speed on the autobahn — even if these things never actually happen to an ordinary owner — consumers were attracted to Mazda during the pandemic because the brand offered them a fantasy of carefree relief.”
So while 560 MX-30 EVs doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s a big number for a small automaker with a highly successful marketing track record. What the Mazda marketing team is betting on is that while many car shoppers will find a 100-mile range EV limiting, many Mazda fans will consider this approach highly appealing from an eco-conscious standpoint.
The 2022 MX-30’s entertainment system includes: an FM HD Radio, Bluetooth hands free phone and audio, 8 speakers, 2 USB ports, an 8.8" center display, Mazda Connect infotainment system w/voice command, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, multi-function commander control, Pandora internet radio integration, a radio broadcast data system program information and SMS text message audio delivery and reply, Radio w/Seek-Scan, Speed Compensated Volume Control, Steering Wheel Controls and External Memory Control, Window Grid Antenna, and 3 LCD Monitors (in the front seat).
Concerning the MX-30’s cabin, Car and Driver reviewer Elana Scherr says: “The cabin is well equipped, with even the starting trim getting a power moonroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, and multiple charging outlets. Phones connect quickly with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto supported and stow neatly beneath the console. The recycled felt on the doors and the tweedy seat materials not only are fashionable, but colors, material, and finish designer Simona Merker assured us that the plush textiles and the cork-lined door handles and trays are just as durable and easy to clean as more common automotive interior plastics and leathers. The seats are a little firm beneath their center racing stripe, but the seating position is good, and they offer eight-way adjustability with power lumbar support and seat-position memory. The back seats are a bit cramped due to the curve of the roof, and entry through the smaller doors is tight. But there is decent legroom for adults, and egress is easy thanks to powered front-seat position buttons on the seatbacks.”
Says Car and Driver reviewer Drew Dorian: “The all-electric MX-30 comes with one 143-hp electric motor that drives the front wheels; all-wheel drive isn't available. However, we've also learned that there will be a plug-in-hybrid version that'll launch later and will pair an electric motor with a rotary gasoline engine, so perhaps all-wheel drive is still on the table. As its low horsepower rating suggests, the MX-30's acceleration isn't up to par with more powerful rivals but it still feels perky around town. The chassis is playful and steering is sharp, which is what we expect from a modern Mazda. That eager handling is what earns this SUV the MX in its name, a prefix which is shared only with the brand's MX-5 Miata sports car.”
Says Mazda about its first pure electric: “MX-30's contemporary design makes this electric vehicle distinctly a Mazda. The Kodo design philosophy continues to evolve with every new addition to the lineup of next-generation vehicles. Inside and out, MX-30 emphasizes a new "Human Modern" concept that combines the appeal of futuristic design with a sense of familiarity. The exterior proportions give the crossover a feeling of strength and beauty, while the minimalist style offers a sense of sophistication similar to other Mazda vehicles. Opening the new freestyle doors provides a unique view and a wide range of possibilities for experiencing the vehicle. The interior continues the minimalist design language with feelings of lightness and openness. The driver-centric approach lays out the latest technologies and controls in a way that is welcoming and helps provide a sense of confidence while driving.”
WRITTEN NOVEMBER 2021
There are currently 4 primary incentives available to the California consumer that substantially lower the cost of buying or leasing an EV. CURRENT provides all the guidance or assistance you may need to apply for these incentives.