Mazda’s established position on the flawed reasoning that has motivated so many of its rivals to put big, heavy and expensive drive batteries in their electric cars may have rather forced the company’s hand when the time came to decide exactly how much energy storage the MX-30 would offer.
More likely, though, it was the chicken that came before the egg, as Mazda made an argument to prepare the ground for a car that it knew would come to market in a key position of weakness, by pointing out the folly of EVs with more battery capacity than they often required.
Whatever the sequence of events, the MX-30 is not an electric car to relax our collective furrowed brow as regards the looming spectre of range anxiety. With an all-steel platform chassis adapted from that of the current Mazda 3, it is driven by a 143bhp AC synchronous electric motor up front and under the bonnet, which powers the front axle directly. Suspension is via struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear.
The car has just 35.5kWh of gross battery capacity in cells surrounded by a protective crash structure, and carried underneath almost the full length of the cabin floor between the axles. That is precisely as much as the Honda E that we road tested last year had, but is 30% less than a Peugeot e-2008 offers.
But so what, you might think, if the MX-30 delivers the weight advantage expected of it? Well, put rather bluntly, it doesn’t. When we placed it on the Millbrook scales, our top-trim MX-30 GT Sport Tech test car weighed in at 1663kg: 25kg heavier than the e-2008 GT Line we tested in 2020, and also more than 120kg heavier than the considerably smaller Honda E.
The MX-30 is clearly a car that has been engineered with good structural rigidity in mind. It has a challenging pillarless construction and ‘freestyle’ doors (rearwards- hinged rear passenger doors with overlapping front ones) very much like the old RX-8 sports car. And yet, B-pillars or no, it’s also sufficiently strong to have recorded a five-star Euro NCAP crash test result.
Still, kerb weight numbers like those we’ve just explained do throw Mazda’s credibility into question when it claims that the MX-30 is ready to wield any kind of dynamic advantage over its rivals. So what else might be here to tempt us in?