• Mazda Mx-30 battery

Mazda Explains MX-30's Smaller Battery, Car's Importance to Company

The small pack means an expected range of around 200 km on the European WLTP cycle, though official figures aren't out yet.

Evan Williams By: Evan Williams January 3, 2020

Mazda’s first mass-market EV, the MX-30, is getting a battery that’s not as large as some of the competition. The President of Mazda Europe explains just how important the new EV is to the automaker’s survival, and a new report explains why the battery doesn’t offer the range of some other automakers.

The MX-30 is expected to start deliveries in Europe this summer, but the small funky crossover with RX-8 style rear doors is getting a surprisingly small 35.5 kWh battery pack. Compared with the 64 kWh of competitors like the Hyundai Kona EV or even the 40 kWh pack of the smaller-range Nissan Leaf, and it seems positively tiny.

The small pack means an expected range of around 200 km on the European WLTP cycle, though official figures aren’t out yet, so why has Mazda gone this route?

A small battery means less weight, as even with current battery cell tech, adding more charge means adding hundreds of kilos of weight. The MX-30’s pack keeps the model at around 1,700 kg, Automotive News Europe reports. That’s good for how it drives and handles, improving dynamics which is a staple of the Mazda brand. The report says that Mazda is aiming the pack size at customers who average 40-70 km per day, meaning a full recharge every three days – or leave it plugged in at home overnight and never worry.

Instead of a larger pack down the road, Mazda is instead adding a small rotary engine as a range extender, ANE reports.

New European emissions rules mean that automakers can see massive fines for failing to meet fleet average carbon targets in 2020. The fine is 95 euros per gram/km of CO2 over the target. Per car. It could quickly add up to millions or even billions of euros for some manufacturers.

With Mazda trailing much of the industry in electrification, that makes the MX-30 critical. “We will have to sell as many battery-electric vehicles as possible so that we can reduce our potential of facing a CO2 penalty,” Mazda Europe President and CEO Yasuhiro Aoyama told Automotive News Europe. A smaller battery pack, and corresponding smaller price, will likely help drive those sales. The MX-30 is expected to start from 35,000 euros, undercutting longer-range competitors. It also offers styling that is unique to the model, while not shouting EV as loudly as some others.