Mostly because of the market, but what about aerodynamics?
The first Mazda BEV will be a big deal at the Tokyo Motor Show. Not only because Mazda promises a different approach to batteries, with the smallest possible pack, but also because of its Wankel range extender. A new video shows the car will be a CUV – something the E-TPV prototype had already anticipated. But Mazda also promises “a coupe-like cabin,” and that the car will achieve “a lightweight look by adopting a unique door concept.” SUVs are currently a market demand, but why the coupe part of the story?
Gallery: Mazda EV teasers
We had the idea that crossover coupés were more aerodynamically efficient than regular ones, but quick research made us reconsider. Take the BMW X3 and the X4, for example. While the X3 has a drag coefficient of 0.29, the X4 presents 0.30.
We have contacted Mercedes-Benz to ask the same thing, but Daimler did not get back to us so far. It also does not inform the drag coefficient of the GLC Coupé, for example. So we cannot confirm if the crossover coupé would offer better aerodynamic characteristics. On the contrary: it seems the coupé body for SUVs and CUV increases air-resistance. Apart from providing much less room than conventional utility vehicles.
Being very energy-efficient vehicles, it would make sense if Mazda pursued the most airflow-friendly vehicle possible. Even if it cannot escape offering at least a crossover. Market demand is king, and people want SUVs and CUVs. Mazda wants to sell to a broader audience than the one it has with the MX-5, for example. Besides, a crossover would have more room for a battery without compromising space for passengers and cargo.
Aerodynamics should be especially sensitive to the Japanese carmaker precisely because it intends to use the smallest possible battery pack. Mazda has already said it does not believe in large battery packs, so it will probably have one that is enough for urban driving.
For highway speeds, all its electric and electrified vehicles will still have engines. Either for a hybrid powertrain or – in the best-case scenario – a range extender. Expect a small battery pack, of only 35.5 kWh. That is what the E-TPV presented.
The small battery pack will allow Mazda to tackle another critical aspect for efficiency: weight. The company’s first BEV should be really light compared to its competitors, but how lighter? That’s something Mazda will be able to answer in a few days.
Expanding Kodo Design’s Expressive Range
Leverkusen, 18/10/2019 - The debut of the all-new Mazda3 marked the beginning of a new phase of Kodo—Soul of Motion design. Under the Car-as-Art ethos, Mazda designers are striving to expand Kodo’s expressive range and enhance the artistic value of car design.
Styling our new EV was a process of staying grounded in the beautifully honed, handcrafted forms of previous Mazda designs while exploring new directions more in touch with futuristic values and changing lifestyles.
Based on a “Human Modern” design concept, this new approach has resulted in an original design that embodies the expansion of Kodo’s expressive range. The overall form is uncompromisingly simple to emphasize the beauty of its solid mass, a coupe-like cabin achieves a lightweight look by adopting a unique door concept, and the front face bears a friendly expression.
Next week, Mazda unveils its new EV to the world. Get ready for something new.