Mazda has opened reservations for their first all-electric vehicle, the Mazda MX-30 EV. Mostly comparable in size to the compact CX-30 SUV, it’s billed as “the perfect companion for your daily commute” and is expected to arrive in California this fall and in 2022 elsewhere. Yet, the MX-30 has an estimated range of just 100 miles.
How does Mazda justify the shorter range? According to the Mazda website, “MX-30 owners can select a courtesy non-EV car up to 10 days a year for the first three years of ownership for a longer-range trip or personal needs.”
Their model news comes the same week that Ford engineers stated they expect to improve the Mustang Mach-E’s range beyond its current range of either 211 or 305 miles. They’re looking to trim vehicle weight and improve battery efficiency to do so.
Will the MX-30 be adopted by consumers with one of the shortest ranges to date? It seems unlikely as public charging has become one of the biggest frustrations that EV owners are experiencing.
Public charging has work to do
In the first US Electric Vehicle Experience Public Charging Study performed by J.D. Power, owners rated their experience with available public charging stations in the first half of 2021. Scores out of 1,000 were tabulated based on “ease of charging, cost, ease of finding the location, location safety, charger availability, and more”.
Ease of use did not appear to be the issue. With DC fast charging and Level 2 charging, scores were fairly strong at 737 and 716 respectively. Satisfaction scores started to decrease for those who had to pay for charging compared to those with top-ups included, especially for those who had to pay for Level 2 charging (score of 585).
And perhaps the largest frustration for EV owners becomes evident when asked why they checked into a charging station but didn’t end up using it. 13% stated they didn’t succeed in using the charger with top concerns being out-of-service charging stations and long waits.
Tesla chargers jump to the front
Overall satisfaction for Tesla’s charging stations surpasses DC fast charging and Level 2 charging stations handily. Their Destination Level 2 charging network has the highest rating in the segment with a score of 689 while their Supercharger network takes the lead for DC fast chargers with a score of 733.
Some EV owners are likely looking forward to Tesla’s Supercharger stations being opened to non-Tesla users in the coming months, and the charging experience could be another reason that Tesla continues to be the leader in EVs.
EV auto industry performance
The Q2 2021 Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch Report discovered that electrified cars are, in fact, being considered more often by all vehicle shoppers. For Q2 2021, sales actually topped a quarter-million for the first time among all brands combined. Of those who considered electrified models, 15% chose a hybrid and 8% chose a fully electric model.
The Biden administration’s commitment to developing the charging infrastructure nationwide to support a growing number of electric cars will become pivotal as carmakers accelerate EV model releases. What both the carmakers and charging station developers need to keep front and center is that range anxiety is real, and only an ability to effectively and reliably charge their cars will drive purchasing by potential EV owners.
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