Mazda MX-30 EV leaked ahead of schedule?
The photo hints at rear suicide doors and unique styling.
Mazda's first all-electric vehicle may have slipped into public view just days before its official unveiling.
A photo posted by Japanese media appears to show the electric crossover, identified as the MX-30 concept. The rear doors do not have handles, suggesting they may be suicide doors and meshing with Mazda's promise of a "unique door concept."
The crossover is said to integrate a relatively small 35.5-kWh battery pack, giving it a range of 120 to 150 miles -- closer to the entry-level Nissan Leaf than the ever-growing crowd of long-range EVs that have set 200 miles as a minimum threshold.
It is unclear if Mazda plans to follow up with a long-range model that would serve as a more direct rival to the Kia Nero EV, Hyundai Kona Electric and upcoming Tesla Model Y.
Previous rumors have suggested Mazda may revive its Wankel engine as a range extender. The 35.5-kWh battery is fairly close to the 42.2-kWh capacity of the BMW i3, which is available with an optional two-cylinder generator for buyers who occasionally tale longer trips.
Mazda in 2013 began testing a prototype Mazda2 equipped with a 500cc Wankel range extender, spinning at a constant 2,000 rpm and delivering 26 horsepower to recharge the battery. Rotary engines are generally associated with higher emissions than piston alternatives, however the steady rpm of a generator setup may allow for a finer calibration compliant with ever-tightening regulations.
The MX-30's official debut is scheduled for October 23 at the Tokyo Motor Show.