Mazda MX-30 PHEV is finally coming, with smaller battery and V2L…but only in Europe

Mazda finally announced its long-rumored MX-30 plug-in hybrid, dubbed the MX-30 R-EV, which uses a small rotary motor as a range extender to complement its now smaller battery.

The new MX-30 R-EV was shown off at the Brussels Motor Show today, though Mazda press release Light in the details. All it mentions is that the car will have a 17.8 kWh battery good for a range of 85 km (53 miles) on the WLTP test cycle. This battery is half the size of an EV at 35.5 kWh, and is paired with an 830 cc rotary motor and a 50-liter (13-gallon) gas tank. It will be available in a new version and ‘Edition R’ color (pictured above) and will have a 1.5 kW V2L ‘Power Supply Function’.

At first glance, an R-EV’s low range (with half the battery capacity and less than half the range) might indicate a less efficient car, but if the R-EV carries an EV battery of around 5 kWh, the two look nearly identical in efficiency. . The R-EV is 58 kg (127 lb) heavier and slightly more powerful (168 hp from 143 hp) than the EV, so both cars have similar performance.

The R-EV will be able to fast charge at 36kW DC, down from 50kW for the electric vehicle. Both are pretty pedestrian numbers in this day and age, with 350kW chargers so popular all over Europe. But PHEVs generally don’t rely on DC fast charging when they need a quick top-up, so this is less of an Achilles’ heel for a car with a range extender under the hood.

Mazda will offer drivers a choice of three driving modes to control the engine – “Normal” which uses mostly the electric motor until the battery charge runs low or the driver locks the throttle, “EV” which will force the engine to idle as long as possible, and “Charge” which It will preferably run the gas engine so you can maintain a certain battery charge percentage. Drivers can select their preferred percentage, and this can be used, for example, to drive through the various electric-car-only zones that are dotted around some European city centres.

In terms of price and availability, the R-EV will start at the same base price as the EV, Mazda says it wants to offer buyers a simpler decision to choose the powertrain that’s best for them, and should start shipping to different countries next quarter.

Earlier this week, Mazda announced the The MX-30 EV is back in California After spending the better part of a year Missing With no comment on whether it will return for 2023. In its first year, Mazda planned to only sell a paltry 560 in California, and it ended up selling 505. The MX-30 EV isn’t available anywhere else in the United States, nor is the newly announced PHEV.

Take Electric

The MX-30 has been somewhat of a tortured existence so far. First announced as an all-electric car, it was praised for its elegant looks, mature interior, and intriguing suicide doors.

But as Mazda started talking about and showing the car, it became more and more clear that it… didn’t really want to make an electric car. Even before the car came out, Mazda announced that it was He made it artificially slower to “feel like a petrol car”.

so when We drove, we noticed a lot of design decisions that seemed more consistent with having a motor than a battery. It wasn’t just all electric badges Quite a temporary lookbut there’s an enormous empty space under the hood just waiting to be filled by an engine:

Mazda says its strategy is to offer the right powertrains for each region based on that region’s needs, which has translated into EVs for Europe and California, “mild” conventional gas-powered hybrids in other regions, and now PHEVs for Europe.

but why? The United States has much greater distances, and the “road trip culture” in the United States is often cited as something that keeps people (Incorrectly) away from electric vehicles. PHEVs give drivers the ability to stay electric for most of the drive, but still have a tank to get stuck on the road, so it looks like this will work in the States.

And in Europe, it looks like electrification will work great, with some cities banning internal combustion engines while covering the entire continent with a network of high-quality trains to travel between cities when needed. Europe also has much higher gasoline prices than the US, and a strong reason to avoid using oil – its main supplier, Russia, has just decided to wage an unprovoked war in Europe, and so much of the continent’s oil is being burned directly with that war’s money.

But there is a hitch – incentives. In Europe, PHEVs are much more common than in the United States, despite the above factors, because it is very common for companies to buy or lease vehicles to employees as company cars, and companies receive incentives for these vehicles. Typically plug-in hybrids, these cars are also common It is not connected to electricity.

Meanwhile, in the US, California requires manufacturers to sell a certain amount of zero-emissions vehicles or they have to buy costly ZEV credits from other automakers, so manufacturers often only sell electric vehicles in California in order to meet These regulations. These half-baked EVs are called “Compliance carsand has been a common way for manufacturers to get around ZEV regulations in California for the past decade.

So it seems like a big part of Mazda’s real rationale for these vehicles is not what customers need, but how they can best game the system in each area.

Which is a shame, because this could be a good PHEV. While we were hoping for a full 35.5 kWh combined with a small engine, like the old BMW i3, it’s still 85 km / 53 miles longer than other PHEVs on the market. It’s enough to cover most people’s daily needs, so it’s entirely possible that many R-EV drivers could go months or even a year without filling up.

But the problem is that there are still a lot of people who will never plug in their car. PHEVs have been found to obtain Much less efficient than the label claims And for this. While it’s enticing to think we could spread a limited supply of batteries to more vehicles by putting 3x20kWhs PHEVs on the road, say instead of a 60kWh EV, the calculus falls apart if people don’t plug these PHEVs. And we ended up with a bunch of the most efficient gas-powered cars on the road, using batteries that could have been put into something that doesn’t use fossil fuels.

We also like Mazda’s announcement of price parity between the R-EV and EV. Many other vehicles have a cheaper PHEV, which doesn’t make sense since you’re buying two sets of engines instead of one. The BMW i3 did it right again – it was a PHEV, in fact more expensive than an EV, which confirms that the EV is the better deal, both for buyers and for the environment. And the i3 was hooked up to a small gas tank, again confirming that it was intended to be used as a backup, rather than the MX-30’s massive 50-liter tank.

And best of all, it doesn’t make sense that the car would only be available in Europe. Mazda, you got the MX-30 EV wrong, and everyone knows it. It’s not cool. But you do have a good-looking car that was designed to be a PHEV from the ground up, which you could theoretically offer at a competitive price and with better range (i.e., greater EV range) than the competition.

But, like the electric car itself, it’s like you don’t actually want to sell it. Prove us wrong. If you are proud of this product, let people buy it.

right Now… Electrifying the Miata, next one. Excuse me? Come. We have been asking for a long time!

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