If there’s been a theme to the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show, it’s been electrification. Almost every manufacturer represented at the event used it to launch new electric or partially electric offerings. And the trio of Mazda, Honda, and Mitsubishi were no different.
The Japanese mainstream trio all announced electric SUVs in some form, although all three are different.
Let’s start with Mazda. Overnight it unveiled an electric version of its CX-30. Its exterior is largely unchanged, with the most interesting difference being a much taller ride height. This is to give its battery tech more breathing space; Mazda bridging the gap somewhat by fitting the model with a bodykit.
Specific details about the powertrain are thin on the ground. It seems most likely that the electric CX-30 will share hardware with the upcoming electric MX-30, meaning it may come with the same 107kW/271Nm motor and 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery.
This combo is ordinarily good enough for a 200km range, although this goes against the 400km that some Chinese media have reportedly claimed the electric CX-30 will be capable of. Sadly the model appears to be a Chinese exclusive, with Australasian EV fans having to settle for the MX-30. At least for now.
Over at Honda, they showed off the SUV e:Prototype [pictured above] and the Breeze PHEV [pictured below].
The former appears to share plenty of hardware with the new Japan and European-market HR-V revealed earlier this year, while simultaneously getting a futuristic looking new front and rear end. The Breeze, meanwhile, is based on the larger CR-V with a bolder nose.
Honda has confirmed that the e:Prototype is destined for production, with plans to be rolled out on a global scale. This means it could be the first electric Honda to be offered in New Zealand, with the diminutive Honda e expected to be shut out of our market for quite a while (barring the odd grey import).
Neither model’s electric specs were announced at the event, although one might expect the e:Prototype to borrow some of the Honda e’s mechanicals. Remember, the current petrol equivalents of the e and e:Prototype — the Jazz and HR-V — share more than just badges.
Last but not least is Mitsubishi, who didn’t unveil a new SUV in full but rather teased that one is on the way. The diamond-star brand confirmed that it will be bringing back the ‘Airtrek’ nameplate for a future electric SUV based on the new Outlander.
The rather striking looking Airtrek (standard Mitsubishi ‘shield’ design philosophy up front, quite dashing looking minimalism out back) would seem to be a perfect vehicle for a global release. But according to reports it’s slated to also be a Chinese exclusive.
This appears to be because the model is being built in conjunction with Chinese firm GAC. Some have suggested that it will share its platform with Nissan’s upcoming Ariya, meaning it could offer up to 610km of range.