Electric vehicle enthusiasts prefer EVs that weren't designed to have full-sized gasoline powertrains.
While Mazda seemed to hint that the MX-30 would be exclusively an electric vehicle—or perhaps one with a range extender—the idea of an EV that doesn't have a gas-burning counterpoint that looks nearly the same seems lost on Mazda here.
The Japanese automaker just unveiled a gasoline mild-hybrid version of the MX-30, ahead of the electric version's launch.
The mild-hybrid variant was unveiled Friday at the Automobile Council near Tokyo where, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, 3,000 invited guests were in attendance, reported Forbes. They were likely surprised, as Mazda had previously described the MX-30 as a dedicated electric model.
This version of the MX-30 gets a 2.0-liter inline-4 and "e-Skyactiv-G" mild-hybrid system used in the Mazda 3 compact car in certain markets (but not the United States).
Mazda revealed the original, all-electric MX-30 at the Tokyo Motor Show last fall, as its first fully electric model for widespread sales.
Production started in May, and it's scheduled to reach the European market by fall, starting at the equivalent of about $37,000. The automaker hasn't discussed plans to sell the MX-30 in the U.S. We've reached out again to Mazda for an update.
The MX-30 was expected to take advantage of a range extender in some future version—supported by evidence that the automaker was working toward a new life for its rotary engine program.
Mild-hybrid systems generally simply allow a wider range in which the engine can be shut off, compared to conventional engine stop-start systems. They can store away energy when decelerating and allow the engine to shut off during coasting in some situations, but they generally can't accelerate—or even cruise—on electric power alone.
As recently as July, a European-market press release mentioned the all-electric MX-30 as complementary to mild-hybrid variants of other cars, but didn't mention that the crossover would get that powertrain too.
Perhaps we are to think of the MX-30 a bit like the current Kia Niro or Hyundai Ioniq families—different shades of green, but not entirely ready to go big on electric.