Rotary powered PHEV

from Mazda

Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2023, front
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2023, side
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2023, rear
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2023, side, charging
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2023, cutaway
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2023, boot
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2023, interior
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2023, badge

MAZDA has revealed its MX-30 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that sees the return of rotary engines to production cars.

The Japanese car maker has long been an advocate of the rotary engine concept and in the MX-30 R-EV it is using the technology as a range extender to power an electric motor.

As such the compact SUV drives on electric power at all times and Mazda says it has a range of some 400 miles.

That is a huge increase over the 130-mile range of the purely electric MX-30 which was launched in 2020.

The Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV uses an 830cc rotary engine under the bonnet as a generator and with a 50 litre fuel tank the vehicle has emissions of 21g/km and an EV range of 53 miles.

Mazda stresses there is no mechanical link between the engine and the wheels.

Recharging takes between 25 and 50 minutes depending on charger type and the powertrain develops 170ps giving a 0 to 62mpn acceleration time of 9.1seconds compared to the 9.7 seconds of the purely electric MX-30.

Prices for the plug-in hybrid model will start from £31,250 - the same as the MX-30 EV - and the range will be topped off with a special Edition R model of which just 400 will be sold in the UK.

The MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV features three driving modes - Normal, EV and Charge - and the choice of mode does not affect maximum vehicle speed. Normal mode delivers electric drive as long as there's enough battery charge.

If more power is required than the battery level can deliver - for example, when accelerating - the rotary engine generator will activate based on the degree of accelerator opening and supply the battery with more power.

Since the launch of the Cosmo sports car in 1967 and the end of production of the RX-8 in 2012 Mazda produced more than two million rotary engines and has now brought back the technology for modern times using it as power generator rather than a drive unit.

The MX-30 R-EV was unveiled at the Brussels Motor Show and first deliveries are expected in the summer of 2023.

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