Electric Mazda MX-30 – Automakers Can’t Still Cater for Mass Market

The auto industry continues to be blindsided by electric vehicle designs. Instead of addressing the reality that new technology will change markets, they are trying to reinvent existing vehicles.

These vehicles will be in high demand because they are small and light. They will be smaller in size, have a shorter range, can go 60 mph on the downhill, and cost less than $12,000 before tax. The average price of entry-level electric vehicles is around three times this. These cars will provide 90% of what most people need, including shopping, commute, and local transport.

This vehicle isn’t yet available in Europe, although they may be by China before the year ends. This issue has become a political emergency as many countries, including Britain, plan to prohibit the sale of SUVs and cars powered by internal combustion engines (ICE). The European Union may follow suit in 2035. The new market will likely exclude Europeans with average incomes. This could have serious consequences for politicians. Think of France’s Gilets Jaunes, which swept across France when diesel prices suddenly jumped so high that it decimated the budgets of average earners.

Automakers continue to sell expensive, limited-range electric vehicles that are difficult to afford. To find customers they need huge amounts of government subsidy. Subsidies in Germany can be as high as EUR10,000 (12,000). Electric cars are being designed by the industry to be as fast and efficient as traditional cars, while also being affordable. They keep trying, but the batteries get bigger and stronger, making it more expensive and harder to reduce CO2 emissions.

VW plans to launch a small range of electric cars by 2025. However, they’ll still be expensive – starting at EUR19,000 ($22,400). This is the minimum amount that they should cost for most people.

Mazda MX-30 is my latest electric vehicle. It has many great points, which makes it a compelling case for purchase. This SUV is a beautiful, sturdy, easy-to-drive, stylish, well-built, and a solid case for an initial purchase. However, it’s not cheap. It’s almost twice the price of a similar car, at PS32,790 ($45,600). Then check its range. The claimed range is 124 miles. This claim was made using the new European Union measurement formula, WLTP. It’s able to predict battery capacity more accurately in real life. From the eight times that I attempted to charge the battery of 35.5 kWh, the average mileage I drove was 111.1 miles. The vehicle was able to travel 72.1% on highways at the normal cruising speed. This is more than the claimed mileage. However, anyone who buys a vehicle with such a range would not ever drive on the roads for long distances. It could be a great choice for a town car if it costs half the amount.

This divergence in WLTP range claims does not only affect cars on the lower price end of the electric vehicle range. The Audi E-Tron Sportback 55 Qattro Sportback S Line, with a 95-kWh lithium-ion battery, was priced at PS89,470 ($124,000). Although it claims 241 mile range (WLTP), my five fill-ups were only 180 miles. Manufacturers insist that it is dangerous for the battery’s life to be constantly topped up to 100%. You should reduce this 20% to get 144 miles. You’ve lost almost 100 miles since the WLTP claim. The Audi returned 76.9% of its range in the fastest lane, which means that this car will not be used for the South of France trip.

The latest electric vehicles are surely better than these?

It’s a little. After tax, the Volkswagen ID.3’s PS39.500 58-kWh model battery was rated for 260 miles according to WLTP. However, I only managed 198 miles from three fill-ups. Although it only provided 63.3% of its range for fast-lane driving, other ID.3’s have larger batteries that provide a better performance at 130 km/h (80 MPH). The Polestar 2’s 78-kWh battery costs PS49,900 ($69,200) after taxes. Polestar claims 292 miles. I have never done more than 270, but its highway performance is shockingly 41%.

At the same price, the Mazda has the best battery range. The “e”, Honda’s adorable little town car, has a battery range of just 125 miles. However, it can sometimes dip below 100 miles. It is smaller and costs nearly as much as an MX-30. Although the Honda is cute, it lacks many high-tech gadgets such as cameras and wing mirrors. It will not be available in mass-market. Regenerative brakes on the Mazda were very effective. My standard uphill test drive, which takes approximately 17 miles depending on whether an electric vehicle is available, took just 17. Only 11 miles were required to return from the availability.

Mazda would be foolish to bring such an expensive vehicle on the market given its limitations and slow speed to market.

Schmidt Automotive Research’s Matt Schmidt believes that Mazda requires electric cars to meet EU CO2 regulations.

UBS, an investment bank, stated that Mazda’s overall strategy is to share as many technologies as possible between ICE vehicles and electrified cars as it develops electric capability. By 2030 Mazda will have 25% all-electric products. This is a significant increase from the previous goal of 5% but a far cry from mass-car makers that aim to be 100% electric by 2030. Mazda intends to release two new battery-electric vehicles in 2023 and one next-generation model by 2026.

Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst at JATO Dynamics, agrees that Mazda has been slow in its electric car policy but the MX-30 has some plus points.

It is true that it’s not the most powerful EV on the market. It is, however, an SUV which makes this an extraordinary story. Mazda entered the electrification era by entering it with an SUV, unlike Renault, Honda Fiat, Nissan and Volkswagen, which started in traditional segments (and saw their sales decline) with their hatchbacks. Although it’s not perfect, this is still one of very few small electric SUVs that you can purchase today. The price for a new electric SUV is its little range. Munoz stated that it is larger than an (Hyundai Kona) or (Peugeot 2008) and more modern than the Kia Niro.

What is the best time to expect electric vehicles that are affordable in Europe?

I doubt it in the near term, as the EU regulation currently makes it difficult to make such a vehicle and then earn money. The cheapest you can get today before incentives is an E-Go Life for EUR15,900 after tax ($18,700). A Wuling Hong Guang Mini can be purchased in China for EUR3,700 (or $4,500). Why is this such a huge gap? Munoz stated that safety standards and labor costs are the main factors.

These two variables are unlikely to change, which is good news for European manufacturing companies.

The backers of FreZe Nikrob EV will be shocked to learn that the EV is going to begin sales in Europe later this year at EUR10,000 ($12,000) after taxes. General Motors and General Motors have created this European version of China’s highly successful Hong Guang MINI EV. of the U.S., China’s SAIC
and Wuling, could kickstart the electric car mass market because it reflects a better understanding of what consumers want – something practical and affordable.

The FreZe Nikrob is assembled by DARTZ MotorZ, a privately held Latvian-based company and a subsidiary of Estonia’s Dartz Grupa OU.

Mazda MX-30 GT Sport Tech

Power: 143 HP

Torque – 271 Nm

Batteries – Lithiumion 35.5 Kilowatt 355 Volt

Claimed range – 124 miles

Top Speed: 87 mph

Acceleration — 0-60 MPH 9.5 Seconds

PS32,790 after tax ($45,600)

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