Kimiko Kidd
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The Mazda MX-30 Goes Green With a Small Battery Pack

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fully electric Mazda MX-30
Photo: Mazda

Late in 2019, Mazda unveiled its first fully electric vehicle, the Mazda MX-30. This brand-new EV boasts a 35.5-kilowatt-hour battery pack that delivers 130 miles of range. Although that seems modest in comparison to some competitors, who offer over 200 miles of range, Mazda doesn’t follow the belief that bigger is better. Here’s why the automaker argues that smaller battery packs are better for the environment.

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Going green with a smaller battery

fully electric Mazda MX-30
Photo: Mazda

Thanks to its lightweight, light-duty battery pack, the Mazda MX-30 will boast an extremely low lifetime carbon footprint, according to the head of Mazda Europe’s research and development center, Christian Schultze. Schultze explains that a larger battery pack would have a larger carbon footprint before it even hit the road, due to increased manufacturing costs. That’s because a larger battery requires more materials, including rare earth metals like cobalt. Plus, long-range batteries require more electricity to fully charge, resulting in more carbon emissions and environmental damage than their shorter-range counterparts. Schultze also adds that large replacement batteries are costlier and less environmentally friendly.

So far, it’s hard to gauge how consumers will feel about the new Mazda EV’s battery specs — and the reasons behind them. However, environmental concerns are a primary reason behind the push towards EVs, so it’s likely that some drivers will be willing to trade a 200-plus-mile range for a greener future.

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Furthermore, while a 130-mile range won’t be setting any world records, it’s more than enough for most people’s daily commutes. Other popular EVs offer a similar amount of range, such as the Nissan Leaf, which clocks in at 150 miles. Plus, Mazda intends to release a much-discussed range extender for the MX-30, which should win over drivers who were on the fence about the new model.

Future availability

full electric Mazda MX-30
Photo: Mazda

The Mazda MX-30 will enter production late in 2020. So far, it hasn’t been confirmed for a U.S. release. Instead, Mazda intends to focus its efforts on the European market, where increasingly stringent emissions standards play a significant role in the automotive market. That said, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the MX-30 enter the American market eventually — but Mazda may wait until that range extender is ready to go.