The Electric Mazda MX-30 Has The Right Amount Of Range And Power

Illustration for article titled The Electric Mazda MX-30 Has The Right Amount Of Range And Power

Mazda’s new electric MX-30, targeted for Europe, makes the equivalent of 140 horsepower and has a range of 130 miles, while InsideEVs says it will go from zero-to-60 in nine seconds. “Unimpressive,” you say to yourself from behind the wheel of your 300-HP Camry, somewhat resignedly. But you know what? All three of those numbers are fine.

These numbers first came out shortly after the car debuted, back in October, and I was reminded of the numbers in late December after Mazda explained that they were very much unimpressive for a reason, to help save the environment or some such, since bigger batteries require more environmental resources.

They are again getting some airtime this week, for reasons having to do with online news cycles tending to repeat themselves. And so I am going to take this moment to say that the numbers are just fine.


Now, I’m aware of the concept dubbed “range anxiety,” even if I have I never met a person for whom it actually exists. Instead, it seems to be a general concept we all have agreed on to explain why EVs not named Tesla sell so poorly, when in fact most EVs that aren’t made by Tesla are extremely boring cars, and perhaps that is why they’re selling so poorly. All Ford had to do, for example, was make an EV that looks decent, slap the name Mustang on it, and, what do you know, the first edition of it is now allegedly “sold out.”

As such the MX-30 will probably not be a hot seller, I suspect, because its looks are kind of boring and, in general, the car feels a bit phoned in, but that’s fine, I’m just glad Mazda is even trying in the space, after years of ambivalence or outright hostility toward electric cars.

You don’t need a massive amount of range in any case, because the vast majority of us don’t drive more than 130 miles per day. You also (mostly) don’t need to go quicker than zero to sixty in nine seconds, which is roughly what my 2008 Honda Fit Sport also achieves, though that number is significantly impacted if I have passengers.

Having driven the Fit not-so-daily for almost ten years I can report that life in the slow lane is a life of acceptance, a life of peace. Why does one need to go fast? I’ll let you explore those feelings on your own but all of this is perfectly on-brand for Mazda, whose cars historically have been underpowered. And, as a consequence, the MX-30 will probably also cost less than if it had a giant battery in it that you mostly wouldn’t use. I’m not seeing what there’s not to like here.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

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Why would anyone in the US buy the MX-30 for $35,000 (Car and Driver estimate, base price) with those specs? Even if you make a good income and can take the max federal tax credit, that $27,500 is close to what we paid for our new ‘18 Bolt, optioned with heated seats, heated steering wheel and DC fast charge options - all of which are very useful for any EV.

My last daily was a 2013 Fit Sport 5MT, bought new.

I got rid of the Fit because I moved out west, where there are tall mountains and I got tired of the slow, but just as much because on the highway it was loud - road noise, screaming engine, tire noise - frenetic and twitchy handling at highway speed. The Bolt is none of those things - it is very quiet, comfortable, has off the line torque for days and plenty of passing power, is dead simple and relaxing to drive in traffic. And it handles quite well for a regular hatchback, even with the factory high efficiency tires. 0-60 in 6.4 is quick enough to be interesting.

The ~225 mile real world range I get is enough - it means that we can take it out on a day trip 100 miles away and get back on one charge, and we almost never need to charge out on the road. We never bottom out our charge, and we rarely need to fast charge it so the battery pack should last a long, long time.
A base model with 130 miles of range and a 9 second 0-60 for $27,000 transaction price is a really unattractive deal compared to, say, a new Civic 1.5 turbo hatch for around $5,000 less. I don’t see this car bringing over many US gas car owners.