Mazda revives the rotary engine with MX-30 e-SkyActiv R-EV

Alexi Falson

Mazda has reached deep into its bag of tricks and announced that its celebrated rotary engine will be revived, but not in the form you might be expecting. It debuts in the new MX-30 e-SkyActiv R-EV hybrid.

The new variant features an 830cc rotary engine which is used as a range extender for the plug-in hybrid system. The MX-30 R-EV drives the front wheels via a single electric motor producing 125kW/260Nm, with power supplied by a 17.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

When the pack runs dry, the rotary engine kicks into life and is used exclusively as an onboard generator for the battery pack, with Mazda claiming driving ranges in excess of 600km with a full tank of petrol. The battery pack can also be charged with an 11kW three-phase AC outlet in under an hour, or DC fast-charged at 36kW in around 25 minutes.

Mazda says that its new rotary engine design, known as the 8C, measures in at just 840mm and can fit straight into the MX-30’s existing engine bay without any modifications, and is 15kg lighter than the previous generation thanks to its aluminium construction.

Visually, the MX-30 plug-in hybrid is identical to the MX-30 Electric and the mild-hybrid base model, although Mazda has announced some limited-edition ‘Edition R’ variants (pictured below) for the UK market that pick up some special touches.

In the UK, Mazda has positioned the MX-30 SkyActiv R-EV at the exact same price as the battery-electric MX-30, but the company isn’t in a hurry to get Australian deliveries under way.

That means an Australian arrival isn’t likely until some point in 2024, although it has not been officially confirmed yet.

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