2022 Mazda MX-30’s battery range renders automaker’s 1st EV irrelevant

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Mazda’s new 2022 MX-30 electric vehicle is shockingly uncompetitive, but don’t worry – you’ll probably never see one anyway.

The automaker plans to sell just 560 in calendar 2022, exclusively in California.

That would make the MX-30 slightly more common than the California condor, of which the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates 504 exist.

The EV’s range of just 100 miles on fullycharged batteries, however, makes the MX-30 a likelier candidate for extinction than the majestic carrion eaters. Condors enjoy federally protected status. All the MX-30 gets is a $7,500 federal tax credit, plus whatever your state may put on the table to encourage EV sales.

For field spotting purposes, the MX-30 is a subcompact SUV that competes with EVs like the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Hyundai Kona, Kia Niro and Nissan Leaf. Like them, Mazda’s little hatchback has an SUV-style profile, but offers only front-wheel drive.

The MX-30 is Mazda’s first EV. A plug-in hybrid version that has a gasoline engine to enable longer drives is expected to go on sale sometime in 2022.

2022 Mazda MX-30 electric subcompact SUV

Mazda MX-30 prices

Base: $33,140

Premium Plus: $36,470

Prices do not include destination charge ($1,175)

More: Mazda CX-30 brings fun and style to small SUVs

More: Plug-in hybrids save drivers time and money

2011’s electric vehicle range … in 2021

The MX-30’s exterior styling is handsome and modern, but its 100-mile battery range is 10 years out of date, comparable to a 2011 Nissan Leaf’s 73 miles, when the little Nissan made news as one of the first affordable EVs.

EV technology has come a long way since then, though the MX-30’s specifications might not make you think so. Among contemporary EVs comparable to the MX-30, the 2022 Leaf’s made it 215 miles in EPA tests. The 2022 Kia Niro EV raises the ante to 239 miles; the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, 247; and the Hyundai Kona EV, 258.

The 2022 Mazda MX-30 EV's electric subcompact SUV's electric range trails other small electric SUVs.

The MX-30’s base price of $33,470 is less than those competitors, but by not enough.

I tested a Premium Plus model, base price $36,480, plus $495 for lustrous “machine gray” metallic paint. All prices exclude a $1,175 destination charge.

Mazda rightly points out that most Americans drive considerably less than 100 miles a day, but longer trips occur too frequently to ignore, and U.S. charging capacity isn’t enough to count on finding a nearby 240v – or better yet, a DC fast charger – when you get to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. A full charge at 240v takes 5.3 hours, according to the EPA. Mazda says a DC fast charger takes the MX-30 from 20% to 80% in 36 minutes. But public chargers – especially DC fast chargers – aren’t common enough yet, and even if they were, the MX-30’s range would still constitute a significant disadvantage.

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