Switching into our fully-electric Mazda MX-30 long-termer has made me think about journeys differently.
When I’ve been running a conventional ICE vehicle or a plug-in hybrid, I’ve been able to just jump in the car and drive to my destination, knowing that if I need to refuel, it’s just a five-minute task at one of the 8,000 or so filling stations in the UK.
"...charging at a rapid charger means it costs about the same to ‘fuel’ an electric vehicle as it does a diesel model, eradicating one of the oft-cited benefits of running BEVs."
Now I’m in a battery electric vehicle with a range of 124 miles, it’s become more complicated.
My first instinct now before a journey is to look on Google Maps to see how far I need to go and, if it is more than a 100 mile-round trip, then at Zap-Map to see where suitable rapid charge points are located.
My longest trip in the MX-30 so far has been from my Norfolk home down to a hotel near Slough – 106 miles away - for a work event.
Starting off with a full battery, I identified a 150kw BP Pulse rapid charge point in Gerrards Cross 103 miles away, which I reached with 17 miles indicated range remaining.
A 20-minute charge costing £4.65 put 11kWh into the battery (the MX-30 can be charged at a maximum speed of 50kW) put almost 40 miles of range into the car which was enough to comfortably get me to my destination and then, on my way home, to my second rapid charge point of the day: an Instavolt in St Albans.
This time a stop of 48 minutes saw 21kWh of electricity put into the car, enough for around 70 miles, at a cost of £8.52.
Both times I was able to pay on contactless bank card, making the process easy.
The journey taught me three main things. Firstly, the public charging infrastructure is massively better than in 2018 when I ran a Volkswagen eGolf.
Secondly, driving at 70mph uses a surprising amount more energy than travelling at 60mph.
And thirdly, charging at a rapid charger means it costs about the same to ‘fuel’ an electric vehicle as it does a diesel model, eradicating one of the oft-cited benefits of running BEVs: a factor worth considering for fleet decision-makers when making total cost of ownership calculations for individual drivers.
Just the right amount of 'quirkiness'
I’m a fan of cars with a bit of quirkiness about them and the fully-electric MX-30 has just about the right amount of quirk for me: not too much to make it a novelty and not too little to make it just one of the crowd.
The most obvious example of this is the rear doors. Similar to those in its 2000s’ sportscar the RX-8, they open backwards and can only be used when the front doors are open.
So far it seems to be style over substance as they are less practical than traditional rear doors and they do make access to the rear seats trickier.
But the quirkiness also extends into the cabin. It shares the high quality of build and materials of other Mazda models as well as the general design ethos, but with a notable differences.
The most obvious is the cork-lining used in the storage areas around the bottom of the centre console. Seems a strange choice of material.
Mazda MX-30 Sport Lux joins our fleet
The MX-30 is Mazda’s first all-electric car and shares the same underpinnings as the CX-30. It has a lightweight 35.5kWh battery offering a claimed range of 124 miles which Mazda says is far above the average UK commuting distance of 26 miles a day.
The MX-30 is available in three trim levels. SE-L Lux (£28,545), Sport Lux (£30,545) and the GT Sport Tech (£32,845).
Key features of our Sport Lux model are 18-inch alloys, privacy glass, front- and rear-parking sensors and reversing camera, LED headlights, keyless entry, heads-up display, 8.8-inch display with sat-nav, Apple carplay and Android Auto. Our test car also has single colour metallic paint which is a £550 option.
A full charge will take around five hours (7.4kWh) while DC rapid charging to 80% capacity will take as little as 36 minutes. All MX-30s come with free installation of a NewMotion home charger.
Performance-wise the electric motor produces 145PS and 271Nm of torque and Mazda claims a 9.7-second acceleration to 62mph and a limited maximum speed of 87mph.
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