Mazda MX-30 2020 electric SUV goes official

Mazda has officially unveiled its first mass-produced electric vehicle (EV), a surprisingly rugged-looking small SUV called the MX-30, at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Both the name and the styling come as something of a surprise, but clearly Mazda is demonstrating how important this car is to its future by applying the more emotional MX designation to its EV.

Like the MX-5, which is still loved after 30 years on the market, we wanted to make the MX-30 a familiar presence,” said Tomiko Takeuchi, the program manager for the new car.

And EV technology will indeed be an increasingly familiar presence for Mazda, with CEO Akira Marumoto pledging that by 2030 every car the company makes “will feature our e–Skyactiv electric-drive technology as we work to reduce CO2 emissions”.

The design of the MX-30 is certainly striking, with a coupe-like roofline and Mazda’s typical sharp, sweeping shapes sitting on top of very serious, bulky wheelarches. Essentially it mirrors the more conventional CX-30, but is made more attractive from the waistline up.

Unlike most city SUVs, it actually looks like it’s ready to head for the great outdoors, which is slightly strange, considering the fact that it is expected to have a realistic range of only 200km between recharges.

The design of the MX-30 is certainly striking. The design of the MX-30 is certainly striking.

Mazda has calculated that the best way to keep CO2 emissions down over an EV’s well-to-wheel lifecycle is to use the smallest battery possible, which means less range. The MX-30 uses a 35.5kWh battery unit paired with a 105kW/265Nm electric motor.

Another very cool, and very Mazda, design touch are the MX-30’s freestyle doors, which were last seen on the sexy RX-8 sports car that hit the market back in 2003.

Ms Takeuchi is making some bold claims for what these doors will offer buyers.

“Opening the freestyle doors creates an inspiring space that customers can use in a variety of creative ways,” he said. “Open up the doors and enjoy the view for a while. The sound of the breeze and the birds singing will quiet your mind, and you will begin to feel like yourself again.”

This vision of the MX-30 as an entirely different, green-friendly and yogi-sounding experience is also referenced in the interior, which features natural cork and other environmentally conscious materials that “not only offer a gentle touch but create an open-feeling space that encourages you to breathe deeply while in the car”.

inside, the cabin features natural cork and other environmentally conscious materials. inside, the cabin features natural cork and other environmentally conscious materials.

There was a lot of talk from Mazda about how the MX-30 will allow customers to be more “mindful”, perhaps because it will be quiet enough to encourage contemplation.

In terms of whether the car will actually come to Australia, local Mazda spokespeople are “looking very closely at it” and keen to evaluate its potential for our market.

Essentially, they’re not saying yes, yet, and they’re well aware of the challenges of selling EVs in a country with little demand and even less infrastructure, but you can bet that the MX-30 will make it to Mazda showrooms down under in the near future.

In terms of the future of the company as a whole, this new EV is simply too important to ignore.