Tokyo,Japan: Mazda Motor Corp. recently unveiled its first-ever electric vehicle (EV) the Mazda MX-30 at the Tokyo Motor Show 2019. As part of its Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 long-term vision, the Mazda MX-30 has been designed with the “Well-to-Wheel” approach, which not only considers carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fossil fuel consumption when the vehicle is on the road, but also during the vehicle’s production and energy generation. Here are three important things you need to know about Mazda’s first-ever EV.
1. It is called the MX-30 because it shares something in common with the MX-5. While the MX-30 shares nothing physical with the MX-5, it does share the same role of creating a new concept for the brand. MX means Mazda Experimental, while the number denotes the project number. For instance, the MX-5 was Mazda’s first-ever roadster, while the Mazda Experimental Project 30 (MX-30) is Mazda’s first-ever EV. Mazda applies the MX name whenever the car it creates is the first vehicle of its type for the brand.
2. The MX-30 is built using sustainable materials. Sustainability has also never looked this good, thanks to the use of what Mazda’s Material Designer Li Xintong calls Breathing Fiber and Heritage Cork. Breathing Fiber has a similar appearance as jeans and is completely made out of recycled PET plastic bottles while Heritage Cork is an industry-first application of cork. This eco-friendly recycled material harks back to Mazda’s history as a cork making company known as Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd. back in 1920. She also explained that creating the cork was challenging since they developed a special injection forming method and added a unique coating to toughen up the cork to avoid absorbing moisture and for it to maintain its quality. Additionally, recycled plastics have also been applied to various exterior parts, mainly in the MX-30’s black bumpers.
3. It has a smaller battery pack than many EVs, and for good reasons. The Mazda MX-30’s 141 hp and 264 Nm electric powertrain is mated to a 35.5 kWh battery pack. This lets the MX-30 have a range of 209 kilometers in a single charge, which is a lot smaller than the Hyundai Kona Electric’s 449 kilometers of range. This, however, was a deliberate decision due to the “Well-to-Wheel” approach. Tomiko Takeuchi, Mazda MX-30 Program Manager says that having a bigger battery means more CO2 emissions during the production process and power generation, especially if the power plants are dependent on coal. She also adds that not everyone needs a lot of range, wherein many Europeans drive within 50 kilometers daily. Mazda does note the need for added range by some drivers, especially in North America where the daily average driving range is much greater. To answer that demand, a range extender version with a compact rotary engine is currently in the works.
The Mazda MX-30 now available for pre-order in the European market with deliveries starting in 2020. Japan and the rest of the world will follow shortly while Mazda has not given any word of a Philippine debut of the MX-30 yet.