Images and details of Mazda’s first electric vehicle have leaked in the Japanese media today ahead of its official reveal at Tokyo motor show tomorrow.
The image, which reveals the zero-emissions model will be called MX-30, was published alongside power figures, which match those of the e-TPV prototype we drove recently. It has a 35.5kWh battery and a single electric motor delivering 138bhp and 195lb ft of torque to the the front wheels via a single-speed transmission.
Mazda's last communication on the upcoming model was last week when it said the car develops the design language first seen on the recently launched Mazda3 to reflect “futuristic values and changing lifestyles”.
The model, which will go on sale next year, has a coupe-like cabin and “achieves a lightweight look by adopting a unique door concept”. Mazda added that the front face bears a “friendly expression”.
The interior is said to use empty spaces around the centre console to create a closeness between the driver and passenger seats. Mazda added that interior materials were chosen for comfort and “eco-friendliness”, both of which are intended to make the cabin comfortable.
The model, as shown in this leaked image, adopts an SUV bodystyle, which can more easily accommodate an underfloor battery pack.
The EV is likely to have a range between 120 and 150 miles, similar to the new Mini Electric but significantly less than more obvious rivals, such as the 279-mile Hyundai Kona Electric. It will be able to accept 6.6kW domestic charging and 50kW public rapid charging.
Mazda will also introduce a modern version of its famed rotary engine in a range-extender variant of the EV. Two years ago, Mazda boss Mitsuo Hitomi confirmed that, rather than being used in its purest form, a rotary engine will be used as an EV range-extender. He said: “The rotary engine isn’t particularly efficient to use as a range-extender, but when we turn on a rotary, it's much, much quieter compared to other manufacturers’ range-extenders”.
The Japanese firm’s range hasn’t featured a rotary-engined road car since the RX-8 went out of production in 2012, but it did produce a rotary range-extender Mazda 2 prototype – which Autocar drove – back in 2013. It has remained interested in reintroducing the technology to production since. The Mazda RX-Vision Concept, which was shown at the Tokyo motor show in 2015, used such a powertrain.
Mazda has eschewed hybrid and electric models in recent years, instead choosing to focus on improving the efficiency of its petrol engines. This year, it introduced spark plug-controlled compression ignition to the latest Mazda 3, with the promise that it will “combine the economy and torque of a diesel engine with the performance and lower emissions of a petrol unit."