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New Mazda MX-30 2021 charging towards Australian launch to take on Hyundai Kona Electric

Mazda showed off the production version of the MX-30 at last year’s Tokyo motor show.

You can forget the chat from Mazda HQ about how its first-ever EV, the MX-30, is being built for markets where it makes solid, green sense - those that use clean energy and have plenty of charging infrastructure - because it is all but officially confirmed to be coming to Australia.

CarsGuide first drove the MX-30 in a prototype guise in Norway - where EVs now make up more than 40 per cent of all new-car sales - last year. At the time, the Mazda executives were very focused on the idea of “well-to-wheel” or “life-cycle” CO2 emissions, which means calculating the true carbon-dioxide cost of a car, from what goes into building the vehicle and its batteries, to how it is charged, or fueled.

In certain markets, they suggested, you would get a better CO2 result by buying a petrol-burning car than an EV, over its entire life cycle, and this did not augur well for coal-loving Australia.

When the car was unveiled in its final form at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, the “well-to-wheel” theory was front and centre again, but it didn’t stop Mazda Australia’s representatives from pointing out, with a solid nudge and a heavy wink, how “keen” and “hopeful” they were, and that they were “looking very closely at” getting the MX-30 into our market.

CarsGuide understands it’s been looked at very closely indeed, and that negotiations with Japan have been robust. The MX-30 isn’t just a car that the Australian arm wants, it’s one that it needs, as a kind of green halo for a company that has long been more focused on reducing emissions by making old-school, internal-combustion engines more efficient.

Earlier this year, Mazda also revealed it is working on a range-extender version of the MX-30, which will pair its famed rotary petrol engine with an electric motor to boost driving range.

The standard MX-30 sports a circa-200km driving range, but a rotary range extender could double that and put it in a better position to take on the Hyundai Kona Electric.

Officially, Mazda Australia spokesman Mark Flintoft’s response is that “as we said in Tokyo, we’re working to get it here” (which is a noticeable tone change from “looking closely at it”).

“Mazda globally is still committed to the well-to-wheel analysis, but what that means is that those markets that qualify in those terms will be prioritised for the initial rollout of the MX-30, and that means that Europe and Japan (where the car is due to go on sale in the northern-hemisphere summer) remain the priority,” Mr Flintoft said.

“Obviously we’ve not announced whether it’s coming here or not, but what you’re referring to, the way they discussed which countries would get the car, was more about priorities rather than an absolute yes or no to certain markets.

“We’re working hard to try and get it over here, and we think it would be a good fit with the Mazda brand in Australia.”

Mr Flintoft added that, while Mazda was aware of how well some other companies were doing with hybridised SUVs, the push to get the MX-30 here had been going on “well before sales of the (Toyota) RAV4 hybrid did so well”.

“We’ve obviously got our own mild hybrid coming pretty soon, with the Skyactiv engine in the 3 and the CX-30, and they are going to be two very popular vehicles for us,” he said.

“If you want to buy a hybrid from Mazda, the CX-30 will be the first opportunity to do that.”

Take it from us, though, the MX-30, a fine-looking and enjoyable EV to drive, will be coming Down Under, as soon as possible.