Mazda is bringing back the rotary engine, but not as we know it.
The automaker on Monday confirmed plans to develop a rotary range extender for an electric version of the MX-30. It will be called the MX-30 R-EV. The compact crossover, which debuted in 2019, also offers a mild-hybrid system based on the 2.0-liter inline-4 engine in some markets.
The swivel-equipped MX-30 will debut on January 13 at the 2023 Brussels Motor Show. European sales are scheduled for spring, but U.S. availability has yet to be announced. According to a report from our sister site Green Car Reports, the R-EV doesn’t appear to be coming to the U.S., at least not initially, as the company focuses on other vehicles.
2022 Mazda MX-30
The MX-30 has been on sale in the United States since the 2022 model year, but only in California.
Mazda says the rotary engine in the range-extender MX-30 is a new design. The engine will be used as a generator rather than a direct source of power for movement.
The current MX-30 has a 35.5-kWh lithium-ion battery and is EPA-rated at just 100 miles of range. It’s unclear what the vehicle’s range will be with the rotary range extender.
Mazda 2 RE Range Extender concept car
Mazda has already shown off an electric vehicle with a rotary range extender: the Mazda 2 RE Range Extender concept from 2013. Its spinner is a 0.3-liter single-rotor unit that provides an additional 111 miles of range on a full tank.
Mazda’s efforts to reduce emissions from its rotary engines mean that the rotary-powered sports car is unlikely to return to the market unless Mazda can somehow develop an electric version that meets increasingly stringent emissions regulations, which the automaker appears to be trying, as of late In the case of patents.
By 2030, every model in Mazda’s lineup will feature some form of electrification. It’s part of the automaker’s overall goal to reduce emissions by 90 percent from 2010 levels by 2050.
UPDATE: The story has been updated to include the name of the extended-range MX-30 and information about its likelihood of coming to the US