Mazda's biggest mistake in decades is not dead... yet.
Mazda doesn't often get it wrong, but when it makes a mistake, it does so in spectacular fashion. It made a complete mess of the MX-30, and as a result, there were several rumors that it might be axed a mere year after it went on sale in the US. Now it seems these rumors are not true, though the situation is still hazy at best.
The MX-30 is widely regarded as one of the worst EVs you can buy, as there are two significant deal breakers at play. The first problem is the pricing. The base MX-30 starts at $33,470, which makes it more expensive than most of its main rivals. Oh, and you could only buy it in California, which is now officially the most EV-friendly economy on planet earth.
The Mini Cooper SE is now officially more expensive thanks to a recent price increase. But the Mini can go further on a charge, which brings us to Mazda's most significant problem; range. The Mini uses some of the oldest battery technology available, borrowing heavily from the now-defunct BMW i3. Even so, it can manage 113 miles from a full charge.
The MX-30 is Mazda's first attempt at selling an EV in the USA, yet it chose to enter the market with a tiny front-mounted motor producing only 143 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque. But the big killer was the EPA-estimated range of just 100 miles. In short, Mazda gave EV naysayers yet another rock-solid argument against going EV.
The only good thing about buying an MX-30 is that Mazda will lend you a Miata for free if you need to go further than 100 miles.
In a recent interview with Autoblog, a Mazda spokesperson cleared the situation up a bit. The Mazda MX-30 might not be axed, but it needs improvement.
"The introduction of the 2022 MX-30 EV in California was successful, and the model sold out in July. Five hundred and five of the planned 560 units were sold for the 2022 model year. The 2022 model year MX-30 production and US sales were moderately impacted by production shortage. We cannot comment on future products but look forward to sharing further details regarding our electrification strategy soon," said the spokesperson.
While Mazda claims to have reached its sales target, the figures are by no means impressive. Since it's a California-only car, there's nothing we can compare it to.
The fact that Mazda is not willing to comment on future products but references the 2023 model year leads us to believe that the MX-30 does at least have a future in the USA. But to fix the MX-30's problems, Mazda must return to the drawing board. We wouldn't be surprised to see the MX-30 going on a short hiatus while the Japanese brand works on solutions for the problems we highlighted earlier.
A range extender with a rotary engine has been slated for US arrival for a while, but we're still no closer to actually seeing it. Perhaps that might finally happen in 2023.