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October 25, 2019

No, There's Not a Single Bit of Toyota in the Mazda MX-30

With the launch of their first all-electric vehicle, skepticism started creeping in almost immediately: is the MX-30 a full-blown Mazda or is it something a bit more pedestrian wearing fancy KODO clothing?

According to MX-30 program manager Tomiko Takeuchi, it’s purely a Mazda effort with no influence from Toyota or their collaborative EV joint-venture with Denso, EV C.A. Spirit. Takeuchi-san says the development time line is a full 3 years and 5 months using Panasonic batteries. This technology is officially called e-Skyactiv.

Now, because of Mazda’s Well-to-Wheel approach which takes into account not just what energy source is used, but how it’s generated, they sought for a more balanced approach instead of seeking record-braking range or performance. The battery size was chosen to minimize carbon dioxide emissions throughout its life cycle from resource extraction to battery disposal. Still, the MX-30 has a commendable 209-kilometer range. Moreover, they’re also developing an extended-range EV, too powered by a small rotary engine.

Also, because the MX-30 is a pure Mazda effort, it still aims to deliver the same human-centric design and Jinba-Ittai qualities the brand is known for. Underpinned by the Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture that underpins the CX-30 and Mazda3, the MX-30’s multi-directional ring structures and its G-Vectoring Control (GVC) system were tweaked to exploit the characteristics and unique qualities of an EV.

Mazda says this helps it realize seamless vehicle motion in all directions, offers a composed ride quality coming from a feeling that the vehicle constantly gravitates toward the road surface, and an intuitive feeling of total control over all operations, including driving, turning, and stopping. Mazda even developed its own unique motor pedal for the MX-30 for seamless performance while offering energy regeneration without waste.

Oh, and as for the sound? Mazda’s e-Skyactiv will provide aural feedback to the driver that enables him to subconsciously recognize the torque status of the power unit, and thus control vehicle speed with greater precision. It’s going to be artificial, but Mazda says it’s based on the human hearing. It’s akin to knowing the amount of water and speed at which it flows based simply on sound frequency and sound pressure.

Finally, why the name MX-30? In Mazda lingo, “MX” means “Motoring Experiment” and with that, they signify rather unconventional cars in the carmaker’s stable. While the most famous one is the MX-5 (Motoring Experiment Project 5) aka the Miata, there have been other MX models too such as the MX-3 and MX-6. It also helps that these MX cars have either/or coupe or roadster body styles—something the MX-30 also has. Meanwhile, the “30” is likely a confirmation of Mazda changing their naming convention for crossovers to two digits starting with the CX-30. Takeuchi-san is also an owner of a first-generation MX-5, so when they learned that the first-ever EV will be called MX-30, they were understandably giddy with excitement.

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