ON THE ROAD – IAN LYNAS PREVIEWS A NEW EV FROM MAZDA
Mazda took the wraps off their first electric vehicle- the MX-30 EV at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show and we can expect to see it land on our shores early next year.
Recently, I had the opportunity to put a Mazda2 with the M Hybrid system through its paces and the Japanese carmaker will continue that electrification process with the eagerly awaited MX-30 EV. The newcomer adds styling and versatility and is fitted with an AC synchromatic electric motor and a 35.5KWh lithium battery which will deliver a range in excess of 200km (120 miles) It will come with AC charging up to 6.6KWh and DC rapid charging designed to meet 125A Combo Charging standards.
Mazda aim to provide the right power source at the right time and the Skyactiv-X engine will feature Spark Controlled Compression ignition. The aim of Mazda with the new model, just like the rest of the range, is to provide a strong element between driver and car and perhaps there is no better example than their little roadster the MX-5. A recent survey revealed that in Europe the average distance covered per day is in the region of 50km (32miles). I must admit that I have never really checked how many kilometres/miles I average per day; perhaps it is something I should pay attention to as more and more EVs come my way.
The MX-30 EV has been designed with the purpose of delivering the kind of driver engagement not normally found behind the wheel of an electric battery car. Delivering greater confidence and enhanced drive enjoyment was one of the keys to the development of the new model. The choice of battery size considered to be right for the often opposing demands of whole life CO2 consideration, performance, range, charging times and weight. The combination of the next generation Skyactiv vehicle architecture with a 35.5KWh lithium-ion battery the new model avoids the excessively high kerb weight of many rival EVs. The next generation Skyactiv body architecture is enhanced through an increase in rigidity and energy transmission efficiency incorporating the battery pack as part of the bodyshells ring structure which greatly increases diagonal rigidity. Straight crossmembers sandwich the battery pack from above and below and combine with a reinforced ring structure for the rear axle mounts to reduce the delay in the transmission of inputs. Handling has not always been a strong point of many of the electric vehicles I have driven and Mazda has equipped with the MX-30 EV with a MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear set up; in keeping with the new Mazda3 and CX-30, this could well prove to put the newcomer well up the handling stakes and will add great appeal overall.
There is no doubt the new Mazda MX-30 EV will hold lots of appeal to the driver who tends to favour a sporty car and a good deal of work by engineers have delivered. A natural and smooth transition from acceleration to deceleration, seamlessly connecting deceleration force as the driver moves his or her foot from the motor pedal and starts to press the brake to ensure better management when braking for a corner of stopping. With mounted steering wheel paddle shifts this will allow adjustment of the powertrain’s torque characteristics and the level of energy regeneration when coasting or braking. These characteristics can be adjusted through five settings with the paddle shifters, this further adds to the sporty nature of this new Mazda. I certainly eagerly await to get behind the wheel of this new model from Mazda, a company which I feel has taken time to take the EV route; I feel we are in for a pleasing surprise. I have also learned that Mazda aim to introduce the MX-30 EV in a range of tasty colours.