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Thread: Mazda Explains Its Small Battery EV Strategy

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    Mazda Explains Its Small Battery EV Strategy

    Source: AutoVerdict
    January 2, 2020
    by Nick Saporito


    Mazda recently revealed its first battery-electric model, the MX-30. While the headline was that Mazda finally has an EV, it was quickly followed up with questions regarding the MX-30's small battery pack, which is going to significantly impact its overall range.*

    The MX-30 sports a 35.5-kWh pack, powered with cells from Panasonic. To put that into perspective, the Hyundai Kona Electric has a 64-kWh pack, despite being similar in size to the MX-30.*

    Mazda says the MX-30 will be good for about 125 miles of range under the European drive cycle, but Mazda is fine with it coming in under the competition. In a recent interview with*Automotive News*Mazda Europe President and CEO*Yasuhiro Aoyama confirmed the company built the MX-30 for urban and suburban customers who have smaller daily commutes.*

    The trade off here is the fact that Mazda was able to keep the weight down on the MX-30 versus competition. In fact, the company kept the MX-30's weight to about 3,700 pounds, considerably less than most vehicles powered exclusively by a battery pack.*

    Keeping the weight down has allowed Mazda engineers to ensure the MX-30 drives and feels like a Mazda vehicle versus an EV; a guiding principle that often leads Mazda to make decisions other OEMs avoid.*

    Aoyama states Mazda has no plans to add a larger battery to the MX-30, despite the fact he confirms the platform can support a larger pack. Instead, Mazda will be adding a small gas-powered rotary engine as a power generator in the future. This will give the MX-30 considerable more range, but by way of hybrid power instead of additional cells.*

    The Mazda MX-30 will go on sale in Europe this summer.*



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  2. #2
    Senior Member Tone's Avatar
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    I'm intrigued by Mazda's approach -- a vehicle which could probably do the vast majority of daily driving in BEV mode, but with the option of a very small, rotary range extender for the few times per year that you are driving farther. Sort of a BMW i3 that actually delivers on the promise, or a Chevy Volt that is more biased towards batteries.

    The rotary seems like an ideal range extender as it's compact, simple and smooth -- and capable of being efficient within a narrow rev band. The biggest issue I can see is that rotaries consume oil by design, and getting consumers to add oil when needed will be hard with the engine doesn't get regularly used.

    It's still a transitional strategy as eventually batteries will become cheap and dense enough to make adding a whole second powertrain a poor choice. But, that's probably still 10 years or so away.

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