Mazda to announce first EV at Tokyo Motor Show next month, just how far behind are they?

The world is going electric and slowly brand by brand, they’re all starting to realise it. Mazda has been the second-largest seller fo vehicles in Australia for the last...
Image credit: CarSales

The world is going electric and slowly brand by brand, they’re all starting to realise it. Mazda has been the second-largest seller fo vehicles in Australia for the last 4 years, so when they finally announce they’ll show off their first EV next month, it’s time to pay attention.

Right now we don’t know the official details of what Mazda will offer to start their EV transition. What we do know is that CarSales got to drive an EV concept known as the Mazda e-TPV, which is probably our best clue yet.

The SUV is the most popular segment in Australia and the Mazda CX5 has done extremely well here, so they may be nervous about touching that cash cow, but that also means it’d have the biggest benefit if they get it right.

Like most brands in 2019, their vehicle development is so expensive that only global distribution makes financial sense. We’d like to think Australia would be on the launch list, especially now the EV infrastructure is being solved by the likes of Chargefox, but we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

Mazda announced the EV online, complete with a photo of a Type 2 charger.

One of two things is happening here. Either Mazda searched their stock photography provider of choice, this came up and they went with it to generically represent EVs. The other possibility is that this is a photo of their actual charger. That’d be incredibly strange given the charging standards have basically settled on AC/DC standards of CCS Type 2, or CHadeMO for ultra-fast recharging.

One thing is for sure, Mazda is already late to this game. Tesla is about to deliver 100,000 vehicles in this quarter alone and they’re yet to ship 1.

While only a concept, the Mazda e-TPV contained an anemic 35.5kWh battery, providing a very basic set of performance numbers of just 105kW and 265Nm. If that battery size doesn’t change, we’d only be looking at ranges inside 250km, making it ok for city commutes, but not practical for road trips or those with serious driving to do.

Image credit: CarSales

Given the announcement of a new vehicle is often a year away from production, we shouldn’t expect customer deliveries until very late 2020 at best, but that really does beg the question, just how far behind is Mazda?

We also recently had the global announcement from Daimler that they’re completely shifting to EVs, while Mazda’s announcement seems far more tame, starting with just a single vehicle.

Mazda have loads of resources and some of the best designers in the business, so I certainly won’t rule them out until we see more and actually drive their EV. It is worthwhile remembering that the battle of future automotive success isn’t just playing out with the drivetrain, but rather the driver assists that lead us to fully autonomous driving.

Mazda already implements many of the Level 2 assists, but we’ve heard very little from them on their ambitions of reaching Level 4 or 5 where drivers aren’t needed.

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
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