Recently it has been in the news that Mazda has cleared up some confusion about the series hybrid variants of the MX-30. There had been some back and forth about whether Mazda would include a Wankel engine as part of a range-extending gen-set.
The good news is that, no, the great news is that all of the new versions of the MX-30 will be pure electric drive. The only differences in the variants will be the ratio of battery and gasoline range offered. This is great because the drivetrain architecture will be the same in all the vehicles. All variants’ drivetrains will be only electric motor driven. This should simplify one aspect of the manufacturing.
I believe that this is a foreshadowing of things to come. I perceive that it is only a matter of time before all vehicle drivetrains are powered by electric motors only, no parallel hybrids.
In Mazda’s case, it may offer several variants of the MX-30. The first will be a battery-only version of the with a limited 120-mile range. This will fit into the standard battery-electric vehicle classification (BEV).
Next, Mazda may offer a version with 20 to 40 miles of electric-only drive and a gas tank to supply the Wankel engine series range-extender. This should give the vehicle a total range above 350 miles. It will fit into the standard classification of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).
Next, the brand may offer a version more on-par with Nissan’s e-Power technology. It will have a very small battery and a larger gas tank. This will again provide the vehicle with plenty of range. It will fit into the classification of mild-hybrid or Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV).
Finally, it's yet to be seen if Mazda will offer a variant that will fit into the BEVx classification. To be a BEVx, a vehicle must offer at least 75 miles of battery-only range. Sadly, in order to qualify for this California Resource Board classification, the range extender can only provide “limp home” power. Also, the range of the extender must be limited.
I would hope that Mazda would be willing to break from the industry and government classifications and offer a vehicle that customers could really get behind. I would hope that Mazda would offer a range-extended version with a 20 to 25 kWh battery pack, a full power range extender, and a large gas tank (say 40 liters). If Mazda does that, I believe that it would be a very popular vehicle.
Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the benefits of daily driving pure electric and still have excellent, convenient range when needed? I think a large number of people would.
What do you think? How many people would buy a BEVx with limited range-extender power and limited range? How many people do you think would prefer a range-extended BEV with full power and over 400 miles of total range?