The Mazda MX-30 EV is back on the chopping block for the 2024 model year, after a short reintroduction in California, wherein the car has only sold 66 units in 2023.
Mazda will no longer sell the MX-30 in the US, after this year’s model only sold 66 units so far. Sales started slow with single digits for the first three months of the year, then picked up to a year-high of 18 in May, and dropped 11% to 16 units in June. The MX-30 was only available in California, a common thread amongst low-production EVs which help automakers comply with California’s emissions rules.
This is not the first time the MX-30 EV has been cancelled in California. Its previous run sold a total of 505 total cars in the US, missing Mazda’s modest goal of 560 units. Then the car was off the shelves for about half a year with an uncertain future, but was resurrected this January for another run.
Now, again, the MX-30 will once again go off the market. There are still a few cars available in the US (Carscoops found 15 in a quick search), so if you were waiting to pull the trigger, this may be your last chance.
Mazda does have an additional MX-30 plug-in hybrid model, called the MX-30 R-EV, but it’s not available in the US. The R-EV has half the battery size of the BEV version, but this gives a 53-mile range – still respectable for a PHEV.
The MX-30’s cancellation means that Mazda will once again sell zero electric vehicle models in the United States. We don’t know whether Mazda will bring it back for another hurrah or if it will be dead for good this time, but last time Mazda didn’t issue a discontinuation press release, while this time it did. So we doubt it will come back, though it depends on how much it costs Mazda to build and distribute these few EVs versus how much it costs them to pay California’s emissions penalties for noncompliance.
Now we wait and see what Mazda will do next. The company recently gave an update on its EV plans and has an EV sales target of 25-40% by 2030 (which is still too low to meet EPA rules). But it doesn’t really have any known EVs on the horizon, other than a very cool-looking sportscar concept which might become an electrified Miata. In the meantime, it says it plans to focus on “large platform PHEVs” like the CX-90 and CX-70 PHEV, and the CX-50 hybrid (which is not even a plug-in).
When we reviewed the MX-30 EV, we came away pretty unimpressed. The interior and exterior look nice, but the car offered a poor value proposition compared to other entry-level EVs like the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and even the Mini Cooper SE.
It was also clear to us that the car was only being sold as a compliance vehicle, in small numbers only in California, and seemed like a callback to the early EV compliance programs of a decade ago.
In particular, the huge empty space under the hood, clearly intended to house a rotary engine for the PHEV version, and the “electric” badging only being present as a sticker on the window, made the effort feel quite slapdash. And Mazda even admitted it slowed down the car to make it feel more like a gas vehicle (and yet, it was still fun to drive through some canyons).
So it’s not really a surprise that this car didn’t take off. Mazda didn’t really seem like it was serious about the car, and buyers wouldn’t have much reason to buy it over the competition other than brand loyalty or because they like its quirky look or suicide doors. On a pure spec or value comparison, other offerings blew it out of the water, and were clearly more serious EVs.
It is currently an open question as to whether any Japanese automakers will really take EVs seriously – which could hurt the country as a whole if they don’t. Most Japanese companies are lagging on EVs, and it’s starting to be a problem, with both Toyota and Mitsubishi being forced pull back from China this month because they just don’t have any EVs to sell to a country that rabidly wants them.
Besides, as we always say, we really want an electric Miata!!! So we hope Mazda can turn it around and get up to speed on EVs. But it’s going to take more than 66 sales of a gimped PHEV to do so.
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