With about 630 dealers nationally, Mazda is in what might be called the second tier of auto manufacturers in the North America market from a volume standpoint. Which means that proportionally, any investment in new technology or a redirected marketing thrust inherently involves more risk. When you’re smaller, bad decisions can have weightier consequences. So it’s gratifying to know that Mazda is getting on the right side of technical advancement, buyer demand and plain old social responsibility by announcing its first fully electric vehicle, the MX-30, extending the firm’s Kodo theme of product design to a new category and propulsion mode. The MX-30 will go on sale this fall, first in California, with a powertrain that delivers the electric equivalent of 144 horsepower and a 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery that can be fast-charged to 80 percent capacity in 36 minutes.
There’s more to come from Mazda on this front in the future, one of which will be a hybrid variant of the MX-30 that incorporates the company’s SKYACTIV internal-combustion powertrain portfolio with a rotary generator that will replenish the battery rather than powering the drive wheels, as hybrids have been commonly defined to this point. A more traditional hybrid powertrain will go into Mazda’s forthcoming U.S.-built crossover and its large-vehicle platform, which is also in the works. Mazda North American Operations is partnering with ChargePoint to offer recharging capability in the United States, starting with the MX-30.