Mazda bringing electric car to the Tokyo Motor Show
17 September 2019 - Autoblog
A brand-new vehicle on a brand-new EV-specific platform
In June this year, Mazda CEO Akira Marumoto told Automotive News Europe that "the first Mazda battery-electric vehicle will hit the market next year." Earlier this month, Mazda invited journalists to Oslo, Norway, to learn more about the automaker's EV plans and drive a prototype of the e-TPV powertrain, the letter designation standing for electric-Technology Prove-out Vehicle. Mazda had dressed the e-TPV production-intent powertrain under bodywork from the carmaker's new CX-30 compact crossover. Automotive News reports that Mazda will unveil its actual EV at the Tokyo Motor Show next month, which a Mazda spokesperson confirmed.
Mazda developed the powertrain in-house, engineered for buyers in dense urban environments. A 35.5-kWh lithium-ion battery powers a single electric motor wiith 141 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Range is said to be 200 kilometers (124 miles) on the city cycle, but that's likely on the Japanese or WLTP cycle that returns larger numbers than the U.S. EPA. The mechanical figures lie between the 28-kWh battery of the Hyundai Ioniq Electric and the 40-kWh battery of the standard Nissan Leaf. The EPA rates the less-powerful Ioniq for 124 miles of range, while the more powerful Leaf can go 150 miles. AN writes that Mazda's initial planned markets include Japan, China, and Europe where 124 miles is plenty for day trips. A version serving markets known for urban sprawl would employ a rotary engine range extender, a tech tidbit Mazda's spoken about regularly over the past year.
Iain Curry of Australian outlet Chasing Cars had good things to say about the e-TPV prototype he drove. Curry said the experimental car didn't offer strong regen braking and piped a mild four-cylinder soundtrack into the cabin to give drivers a connection to the ICE experience they're familiar with, but there's no word on whether the production vehicle will be set up the same way. Curry praised the handling, saying the e-TPV felt similar to a Mazda3 on the go and around corners.
We'll get more concrete info next month in Japan. The show car in Tokyo will be a "brand-new model" on a new EV-specific platform, and don't be surprised by a compact crossover shape since the carmaker CEO said, "Our global crossover mix is currently about 60 percent."