EV-Motoring: 2022 Mazda MX-30 EV - Chicagoland Review by Larry Nutson
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By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
THE AUTO CHANNEL
The Mazda MX-30 EV is an entirely new subcompact crossover utility vehicle (UV) that’s battery powered. Yes, the MX-30 EV is all-electric and it’s Mazda’s first foray into the electric vehicle space.
As you would expect from Mazda, the MX-30 EV has a sporty look and is tastefully styled with a coupe-like profile. The MX-30 EV went on sale only in California in late in 2021.
Under the hood is an 80.9 kW electric motor that will deliver an output of 107 kW (143 horsepower) and a maximum torque of 271 Nm (200 lb-ft) driving the front wheels. All-wheel drive is not available. Power comes from a 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery and driving range on a full charge is 100 miles. The MX-30 EV is EPA rate at 92 MPGe and uses 37kW-hrs per 100 miles.
Ah, yes! 100 miles isn’t very much range considering what is provided by other battery electric vehicles on the market today. I’m not the first auto critic to note this.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in model year 2021 all-electric vehicles had a median driving range about 60% that of gasoline powered vehicles. For the 2021 model year, the median driving range of all-electric vehicles (EV) was 234 miles while the median range for gasoline vehicles was 403 miles. Although this is a sizeable difference, EV ranges have been increasing rapidly. While the maximum range for any EV offered in the 2021 model year was 405 miles, there are already EV models offered for the 2022 model year achieving a maximum range of more than 500 miles.
Although presently only sold in California, thanks to Mazda my drive experience in the MX-30 EV was in and around my Chicago home. To make things more interesting it was January and the outside temps were in the range of 10 to 20 degrees F. I wasn’t too concerned with driving range since my usual daily routine all happens within a five mile radius of my home. I didn’t have any long road trips on my calendar. I drove a Kia Soul EV here in Chicago in February 2015 in the same cold temps so I knew what to expect.
When the MX-30 EV arrived it had 85 miles of range. At one point I drove it to 9 miles of remaining range. I didn?t panic because I knew I am only going two or three miles. I live in a high-rise condo with no ability to charge---not even 120v. But, I have a nearby supermarket that I can walk to in 10 minutes with free Level 2-240v chargers. I was there adding some driving range twice with the MX-30 EV within a week. I also used an Electrify America DC fast charger at a Target store that's about a 15-minute drive from my home. I was disappointed in the car only going from 20% charge to 50% charge delivering 6.1 kWh in 36 minutes. Charging speed was 8kW---too slow. However, the outside temp was around 20 degrees F.
Mazda explained at 20 degrees F, the charging times will get longer. Thus the reason why I experienced the slower rate in the 36 minutes. If the temperature were around 70 degrees in the same 36 minutes I would have seen 80% charge.
EV batteries have an ideal operating temperature from 32 to a bit over 100 degrees F. If it’s too cold out, energy is used to heat the battery—which takes away driving range. And of course, when you use the vehicle heater that takes battery energy too.
Ideally in cold climate conditions an EV should be parked inside a garage. However, outside parking at your home and also connected to 240v charger will allow you to precondition the cabin so it’s nice and warm when you enter.
Overall I liked the entire MX-30 EV package. It's a great size for the city. If my daughters were back in elementary school they would love the rear seat on a drive to school. The front doors open a very wide 90 degrees. Rear doors are small and hinged at the rear. Mazda calls them freestyle side doors. Opening the front door reveals a latch to easily access the rear doors and allow entry to the back seats.
The front seats can be conveniently adjusted by front occupants with the traditional seat controls or power controls on the back of the driver’s seat for rear occupants sitting behind the driver. Although, I noted that the rear hinged half door is an issue in a tight parking space with a vehicle next to you. The partially open front door confines the movement of the rear seat passenger trying to get out, especially if a full grown adult.
The electric drive delivers decent performance. The MX-30 EV is very well suited for the lower speeds that are typical in densely populated city centers. During morning or evening commutes, in and out of the suburbs in dense traffic conditions, the MX-30 performs well for the task. Like all Mazdas, the MX-30 EV is dynamically engaging to drive.
Steering wheel paddles allow the driver to adjust the level of regenerative braking to what feels comfortable based on the driving situation. Coming to a near stop can be done with very little brake application while at the same time putting charge back into the battery. Electric motors are quiet. Mazda new “EV sound” generates audible feedback that is in sync with the electric motor—an engine-like sound. Personally, I was looking for a way to switch it off. I wanted the benefit of quiet driving.
A digital instrument cluster, 8.8-inch infotainment screen for audio, navigation and 360-view monitor, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and a complete array of advanced driver-assist safety features are standard equipped.
A minor dislike was the HVAC soft-touch contol that wouldn’t respond since I had on a heavy winter glove...it was 10 degrees out and the car was parked outside overnight. To switch on the heated seats or steering wheel I had to take my glove off.
The MX-30 EV is priced at $33,470. The MX-30 EV with Premium Package is $36,840. Destination charge is $1,175. The MX-30 EV qualifies for up to $7,500 Federal tax credit. Go to www.mazdausa.com for more information.
Mazda has partnered with ChargePoint to give MX-30 EV owners a $500 charging credit that can be used for public charging or toward the purchase of an in-home ChargePoint Level 2 charger. If you need to take an extended trip, Mazda is launching a program exclusively for MX-30 owners called, Mazda MX-30 Elite Access Loaner Program. MX-30 owners will have access to experience other vehicles in the Mazda family for up to 10 days per year for the first three years of ownership.
The MX-30 EV might not be the transportation solution for a one-vehicle household. Mazda knows this. However, considering that the typical American drives about 30 miles a day, it can work quite well for commuting to the suburban train station or for urban local driving in a city center.
In 2023, Mazda plans to expand selling the MX-30 EV beyond California and also plans a plug-in hybrid version.
© 2022 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy