Mazda stops selling its only EV in the US

The MX-30 was a misstep, but not the end of Mazda's EV plans.

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Mazda's MX-30 is a strange EV, and it appears the company knows this. The automaker is pulling the small crossover from the US market after the 2023 model year. The company says it's currently focused on "large platform" plug-in hybrids like the CX-70 and CX-90, and also offers conventional hybrids like the CX-50.

The MX-30 is Mazda's first and only mass-produced EV to date, and it came to the country in fall 2021 as a California-only model. From the start, its prospects were limited by a number of unusual business decisions. On top of its small size, it had just a 35.5kWh battery with an estimated 100-mile range. This was supposed to make it feel more like a gas car and limit the car's CO2 footprint, but the net result was a car that was both less exciting to drive and less practical than competing EVs costing significantly less than Mazda's $35,385 sticker. The outgoing current-gen Chevy Bolt costs $9,000 less while delivering more performance and over twice the range.

Sales were accordingly poor. Mazda has sold just 571 MX-30 units in the US over three years. In some countries, the company has reworked the machine as a plug-in hybrid with a rotary gas engine and an estimated 53 miles of electric-only driving.

Mazda is rethinking its EV strategy. It plans to introduce cars based on both an existing platform as well as a new framework. There are claims the company might use a future Toyota platform expected to deliver over 600 miles on a charge. The MX-30 discontinuation isn't the end, in other words — rather, it's an acknowledgment that the company needs to be more competitive.

The move is also a reflection of Japanese brands' general trouble entering the EV market. Honda might not replace its E compact car, and is refocusing on SUVs like next year's Prologue as well as its collaboration with Sony. Toyota and Subaru, meanwhile, had problems launching the bZ4x SUV crossover and its Solterra equivalent. For now, they largely have to rely on hybrids to attract buyers.