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The Tokyo Motor Show kicks off Thursday and already we have our first-ever Mazda electric vehicle, along with some funky electric car concepts from other automakers.
The Mazda MX-30 made its first appearance at the show as Mazda's foray into electric. The car will first launch in Europe with a with a €33,990 price tag (approximately $37,800 US) and is supposed to start production next year. There's currently no timeline for the first Mazada EV making it's way to the U.S.
You might experience range anxiety with this vehicle, though. The MX-30 has a plug on the backside for quick charging to 80 percent full within 40 minutes. But the MX-30 features a battery and electric motor that powers the vehicle for only 124 miles. That's pretty weak compared to smaller EVs like the Chevy Bolt (about a 260-mile range) or the Tesla Model 3 (250 miles for its standard battery option). Especially after shelling out the same price as higher-range vehicles; the most basic Model 3 starts at $39,490 before tax credits and other EV savings.
As to the look of the car, it's looks like a Mazda with a shape similar to other compact SUVs from the Japanese carmaker. The freestyle doors really open up the car without the gull-wing design of the Tesla Model X and removes a center pillar between the front and back doors. This gives the car a sporty vibe, capable of an off-road camping trip, similar to EV startup Rivian's truck design as an outdoorsy feature.
Taking a look at the car's interior, you'll spot cork material, a floating center console, and two screens, one dedicated to touchscreen climate control.
While the Mazda EV is actually happening, it was the concept cars at the show that really embraced electrification. Nissan —famous for its electric Leaf —showed its Ariya concept car. This all-electric beauty is more about the exterior design than the inner workings of the electric drivetrain. While this is just a concept, it signals a direction away from the funky shape of the Leaf sedan to more traditional compact SUVs while remaining electric. Last month, the electric commuter concept car, the IMk, also pushed design boundaries for Nissan.
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Here's the crossover concept with two electric motors and the flat floor battery pack layout.
The interior control panels mimic the stark vibes from Tesla's Model 3 with simply a 12.3-inch screen and a few physical buttons.
Like Tesla's Autopilot, Nissan's ProPilot driver assistance system is built into the car, allowing for hands-free driving in certain situations. In Japan, this feature debuted earlier this year, while in the U.S. the same semi-autonomous system still requires hands on the wheel at all times to be street legal.
In even more extreme electric ideas, Lexus showed off its highly futuristic LF-30 concept.
This is the first we're seeing and hearing of Lexus' electric future, which the carmaker says is coming to its lineup. By 2025, Lexus plans to have electric versions of all its vehicles and by 2030 Lexus hopes to be known as an electric car brand.
In the short term, a real, production-ready, battery-powered electric car from Lexus will be unveiled next month. We suspect that'll have a tamer design, but, in the meantime, enjoy the glass roof, augmented reality windows, screens with gesture and voice control, and an intense driver cockpit.
The concept car's battery range is more than 300 miles and it can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.
And did we mention the drones? Under autonomous control, the supporting Lexus Airporter drones can carry luggage from the doorstep to the trunk. Helpful! Other autonomous features include chauffeur mode for self-parking and front-door pickups.
With all these unveilings, it's clear Tokyo is off to an electric start.