Mazda restarts MX-30 100-mile EV program without rotary range extender or rationale for buying it

Mazda fans rejoice! After a brief hiatus, the Japanese automaker has brought its 100-mile range EV back to the masses … of California. Mazda shared updated pricing and available packages of the 2023 MX-30 today, but to our (somewhat reserved) surprise, without the small rotary range engine previously promised – all for an MSRP higher than its previous model.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re always excited to see fresh EV models announced, but the question that continually surfaces when discussing the Mazda MX-30 is why? Or, at the very least, why now? The Japanese automaker kicked off its entry into BEVs with this five passenger crossover in the summer of 2021, and while it was exciting to see Mazda deliver an actual electric vehicle to the United States, its specs left quite a bit to be desired.

At a lean 100-mile range, the Mazda MX-30 looked to fill a segment of low range commuter EVs that will one day be more popular (probably), but right now we’re still in a relatively young period of EV adoption when the common consumer is not properly educated on how much actual range they need, a time when range anxiety and high prices remain a major hurdle in getting combustion drivers to make the switch.

The market shared a similar sentiment, as sales of the crossover started slow and dwindled down to single monthly digits a year after launching. Only selling the EV in California didn’t do Mazda any favors either. If you’re going to try to compete in the current EV mecca of the United States, you better bring more to the table.

After selling 505 units in 2022, Mazda relayed that the MX-30 had sold out in the United States California, again showing limited faith and resources in a BEV we wondered would even return in 2023. Today we have learned that Mazda is in fact bringing the MX-30 back in 2023, but if you were hoping for more range or a lower MSRP, we’re sorry to be the ones to have to tell you that you won’t be getting them.

Mazda MX-30

Mazda MX-30 arrives in CA this spring, where else unknown

Mazda shared details of the 2023 version of its MX-30 today, including its revised starting price of $34,110 – up about $700 compared to the 2022 version. That price increase would actually be quite agreeable if there were any improvement’s the the BEVs performance, but its still equipped with the same 35.5 kWh battery pack delivering approximately 100 miles of EPA range.

It does have an 8.8-inch center display and Apple CarPlay though, sooo …

For an extra $3,000, you can upgrade to the Premium Plus package, which includes a 12-speaker Bose audio system, heated steering wheel, 360° View Monitoring, and (are you sitting?) three free months of Sirius XM. What were you expecting? Upgraded performance?

It also comes in Jet Black, but you can upgrade to Gray Metallic or Ceramic Metallic for another $595 or $895 respectively. Or you can buy a Chevy Bolt EV for about $9,000 less and get an extra 150 miles of range.

The truth is, the MX-30 is essentially designed as a plug-in hybrid, but it currently lacks an engine – a vital component in hybrid performance. Its tiny battery pack even leaves room for a rotary engine that can work as a range extender, something Mazda previous shared it intended to add to the EV.

Top comment by Murphy

Liked by 5 people

The lack of range extender in North America probably has more to do with technicalities of ZEV credits than any technical / cost challenge. They way the credits are awarded, it's probably more valuable to sell a hobbled vehicle than a practical one. This is one of the reasons the BMW i3 REx was degraded for the North American market.

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The problem is, Mazda still hasn’t introduced the rotary engine on the 2023 MX-30, so its limited range remains an almost impossible sell to consumers when there are other BEVs that go further for less of their hard earned money.

Mazda is not wrong about there being a future need for short commute EVs for work or as a second vehicle for trips around town, and that’s how the company has pitched this vehicle. However, its price remains too high to justify a purchase for many, especially as other competitors like GM and Hyundai Motor Group are reaching a sweet spot at, or in some cases, well below $40k.

We’ve asked the automaker about the missing rotary engine and if it plans to sell this bad boy outside of California, here’es the response we got:

We have no update to share on the US availability of MX-30 PHEV. Globally, Mazda introduces models and powertrains to markets based on a multi-solution strategy that considers regional differences in energy production, environmental regulations, and customer needs. In the U.S., we’re currently focused on electrifying our upcoming CX-90 and CX-70 that will debut this year.

For now, California residents can expect to see the 2023 MX-30s rolling out to Mazda dealerships this spring. How many the company intends to sell before declaring this year’s model sold out also remains a mystery at this point, but 505 units shouldn’t be a difficult benchmark to surpass … or perhaps it will be.

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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