Mazda's First Entry into EVs Isn't Exactly Groundbreaking
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It’s been a long time coming, but Mazda is finally breaking into electric vehicles. The Japanese automaker recently announced the launch of its first line of EVs, debuting with the 2022 Mazda MX-30 Electric SUV.
The MX-30 is slated for a fall 2021 release in California, though other states will need to wait until 2022 to buy Mazda’s first-ever EV. The MX-30 will cost between $33,470 and $36,480, and, according to Consumer Reports, looks like “a gas-powered small SUV with a sporty back half.” It has been compared to models like the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt EUV.
This move into electric will likely be pivotal for the company’s success going forward, as now Mazda is a competitor in the growing EV industry.
Mazda is late to the game when it comes to going electric.
Late to the game, Mazda EVs risk getting left behind
Mazda is late to the game when it comes to going electric. Though late is better than never, consumer responses to the move have been mixed. Many have noted that the MX-30 appears outdated, with the main subject of criticism being the model’s 100-mile battery range.
The 100-mile range is a big negative for many consumers. For comparison, the new Mercedes-Benz EV prototype, the EQXX, will have a 620-mile range.
Not only is its battery range outdated, but the Mazda MX-30 offers little novelty in terms of appearance. Consumer Reports writes, “the overall design looks like it will be readily lost in a parking lot.”
Its raked rear pillar gives the MX-30 a sporty feel, though this design choice may mean sacrificing practicality. The compact rear side of the vehicle will likely create difficulty loading passengers and cargo into the rear, and the unlucky passenger in the backseat may be tight on legroom.
This being said, Mazda’s new EV has some interesting features, such as its contrasting roof, half-sized rear doors, and concealed door handles.
Overall, the MX-30 looks like a standard gasoline-powered car—not exactly the exciting electric model that Mazda fans hoped for.
There are more Mazda EVs to come
Fortunately, The MX-30 is only the first in a series of Mazda EVs to follow, including a plug-in hybrid vehicle with a rotary engine.
Incorporating the rotary engine into a hybrid vehicle is a smart move for Mazda, a company known for its specialized rotary engines. Vehicles with rotary engines typically struggle to meet emission standards, but Mazda’s hybrid model will put a greener spin on this nostalgic feature. Though the rotary engine doesn’t have any clear utility, it may help Mazda generate some much-needed enthusiasm for their new line of EVs.
Ultimately, Consumer Reports sums up the launch as too little, too late. “Mazda is behind the times with this cautious entry,” they write.
Mazda’s venture into EVs isn’t just greenwashing
While Mazda’s new line of EVs has received lukewarm reviews, CleanTechnica points out that consumers should appreciate that the company’s eco-friendliness isn’t just greenwashing.
Mazda has always been concerned with keeping carbon emissions low. In fact, despite coming late to electric, Mazda has repeatedly been ranked as the car company with the second-lowest carbon emissions, beaten only by Tesla.
This might seem unlikely, given that many car companies have been selling EVs for years. However, many of these companies, including Toyota and Chevrolet, also make high-emission vehicles such as pickup trucks and crossovers, negating the carbon effectiveness of their EVs.
Mazda has steered clear of these high-emission vehicles. Additionally, Mazda always offered clean ICE cars, which boast lower carbon emissions. The company has also made their MX-30 even greener by building it with sustainable materials, such as cork.
Green initiatives aside, however, the Mazda MX-30 doesn’t offer much in terms of range and function when compared to current EVs. Ultimately, the brand risks their entry into EVs falling flat.