The 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery powers an AC synchronous electric motor (both bracketed under the e-Skyactiv drive technology label), which in turn drives the front wheels, putting out 145PS (106kW) and 271Nm (200lb ft) of torque.
While most EVs boast immediate gut-wrenching acceleration, the MX-30 quite literally lags behind, taking a smooth 9.7 seconds to reach 62mph from a standstill and featuring an electronically limited top speed of 87mph. However, while this makes it relaxed in slower stop-start situations, it certainly doesn’t feel sluggish when you start to hurry things along. There are three battery regeneration modes – off, half and full – with the latter feeling like you’ve dropped a para-anchor behind, while halfway is a happy compromise. The adaptive cruise control, which comes as standard on all models, deactivates this regeneration, as do a number of other functions, which was mildly frustrating at the time.
While the slow acceleration is negatable (people won’t be buying the MX-30 for its sportscar characteristics), range is where this model will likely fall to its competitors. Mazda claim a combined 124 miles, but after my (slightly enthusiastic) 56-mile test drive, the dash showed just 33 miles remaining. Compare that to the ë-C4, for example, which claims 217 miles on a single charge.
And as part of its commitment to creating a car that achieves carbon neutrality as early as possible, Mazda has opted for a smaller battery, reasoning that building EVs with smaller batteries generates less CO2. Also, it argues, the smaller and lighter battery makes for better driving dynamics, and with the average daily journey in any Mazda just 26 miles, range isn’t hugely important.
That’s not to say the MX-30 isn’t practical, however. The 35.5kWh lithium-ion batter’s 124 mile range goes up to 165 for city traveling. It’s capable of consecutive fast charging, and takes just 36 minutes to charge from 20 to 80 per cent via DC rapid charging. For many, this will be more than adequate, however those drivers with longer miles on the mind need not be totally dissuaded – Mazda has promised that a hybrid version will arrive later this year.
The steering is heavy at lower speeds, the wheel pulling to return to centre, and it feels slightly disjointed from the wheels when you start to push the car. Similarly, the car is planted and stable through bends until you really start hurrying along, when the suspension shows its true bouncy nature, albeit in a fun rather than nausea-inducing manner. As much as I hate to agree with marketing blurb, the 1,645kg car didn’t feel heavy.
Standard in all models is Mazda’s Electric G-Vectoring Control Plus (e-GVC Plus), which claims to use motor torque to optimise the front-rear load shift into corners, however I felt the front wheels slip on a couple of spirited occasions.