Mazda has unveiled its first rotary-powered car in a decade, and it’s a plug-in hybrid-powered city SUV. An Australian launch is believed to be at least 12 months away.
Mazda’s legendary rotary engine is back in the 2023 Mazda MX-30 range-extender plug-in hybrid SUV, but is believed to be at least 12 months away from Australian showrooms.
official brand of thee-SkyActiv R-EV, the first rotary engine in a decade it revives the iconic engine as a ‘range extender’ in a plug-in hybrid system, recharging the battery once it is empty.
Mazda Australia has previously expressed interest in introducing the R-EV in Australia, but Handle understands that it won’t hit local showrooms until 2024 at the earliest, as the Japanese company launches other new models this year.
In the UK, the R-EV range extender is similarly priced to the purely electric model – a car that lists for $65,490 plus on-road costs in Australia.
The front wheels of the MX-30 R-EV are always driven by an electric motor developing 122kW and 260Nm, powered by a 17.8kWh battery.
But once it runs out, said to be after 85km of electric-only driving, the 830cc (0.83-litre) rotary engine kicks in to charge the battery, using a 50-litre fuel tank to achieve a maximum driving range of “more than 500 km”.
According to Mazda’s gasoline and electric driving range figures, the MX-30’s rotary engine consumes 12.05 liters per 100 km, or double what the MX-30’s 2.0-liter mild hybrid version claims use in mixed driving.
The industry term for the MX-30 R-EV is a series plug-in hybrid, which refers to how the rotary motor can only power the battery, rather than drive the wheels directly, and that the battery can be recharged by plugging it in, plus to charge it while you’re on the go.
Mazda claims the battery can be charged on a 3-phase AC household outlet in “about” 50 minutes, while a DC fast charger is said to do the same in half the time. Charging power figures are not quoted.
For context, the electric Mazda MX-30 uses a 35.5 kWh battery and a 107 kW front electric motor for a range of 224 km and a 20-80% DC fast charge time of 36 minutes.
Mazda claims that the 17.8kWh battery, possibly from the new CX-60 PHEV SUV, which has an identically sized package, “was chosen to ensure sufficient capacity for an electric-only 85km driving range while… considering the environmental impact of the battery throughout the life cycle of the vehicle”.
For rotary fans and techies alike: The 830cc engine is a single-rotor unit, with a 120mm rotor radius and 76mm rotor width, and is said to be 15kg lighter than the engine. Twin rotor ‘Renesis’ in the final RX-8. , thanks to the use of aluminum.
The engine, known as the ‘8C’, is also direct injected to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy, and an exhaust gas recirculation system was fitted “to improve efficiency at low revs and under light load”, according to Mazda.
“The new 8C rotary engine…allows for coaxial placement and integration with the electric motor, decelerator and generator to achieve a unit with an overall width of less than 840mm, allowing it to fit under the hood unchanged on the body of the MX-30 frame,” Mazda says in its press release.
The Japanese automaker says it produced 1.9 million rotary engines between the launch of the Mazda Cosmo sports car in 1967 and the end of production of the RX-8 in 2012.
The return of the iconic engine has been on the cards since the last RX-8 was built, as Mazda has unveiled multiple rotary engine concepts and prototypes, from city cars to sports cars, and has filed many rotary-related patents. during the last decade. .
There are three modes, headlined by Normal, which runs the car in electric-only mode until the battery dies and the engine needs to be turned on to recharge it, or more power is needed than the battery alone can deliver to electric. engine.
EV mode locks the car into electric mode until the battery runs out, unless full power is needed for quick acceleration, while Charge allows the driver to keep battery capacity at a certain level or use the rotary motor. to load it.
The MX-30 Range Extender looks no different in standard trim than the regular electric motor, and has the same interior, with three screens and cork accents that pay homage to Mazda’s origins as a cork manufacturer.
At the European launch, a special ‘Edition R’ edition is available, featuring Jet Black paint contrasted with Maroon Rouge side pillars and roof sections purported to pay homage to Mazda’s first passenger car, the R360 coupe.
Limited to 400 examples for the UK, and more for other European markets, the Edition R also adds embossing on the front seat headrests and rotating badging on the floor mats.
There’s also a “single white line of 2.6mm stitching” on the mats that Mazda says matches “the width of the rotor apex seal grooves.” [inside the engine]”- plus a key with “horizontal sides that curve at the same angle as the sides of the rotor.”
He 2023 Mazda MX-30 e-SkyActiv R-EV is now available to order in the UK, ahead of the first expected deliveries in Europe before the middle of the year.
The timing of the Australian launch has yet to be set, but Handle understands it won’t expire until 2024 at the earliest, as Mazda focuses this year on the new CX-60 six-cylinder hybrid SUV due out in June, plus the larger CX-90 that could be in showrooms as early as end of the year (although the time is not confirmed).
Prices in the UK start from £31,250 ($AU$55,000), which is in line with equivalent electric versions, while the top-end R-EV variants cost £450 ($AU$800) more than equivalent electric grades.
In Australia, one MX-30 Electric model is offered: the E35 Astina, priced at $65,490 plus on-road costs. The last Mazda rotary sold in Australia, the RX-8 sports car, was priced at $49,940 plus on-road costs.