Mazda MX-30 R-EV With Rotary Engine Debuts In 2023

After years of waiting and rumours, Mazda has finally revived the rotary. The MX-30 R-EV with the Wankel engine as a range extension makes its debut at the Brussels Motor Show on 13 January 2023.

Don’t be confused by the revived RX-7, though. The rotary engine operates at a constant speed to serve as an extended range for recharging the battery. Mazda is positioning the solution as having the benefits of an electric drivetrain but with the range of a combustion propulsion.

Range is a weakness of the existing MX-30 EV. Its 35.5 kilowatt-hour battery offers EPA estimates range of 100 miles (161 kilometers).

The MX-30 uses a single electric motor that produces 144 horsepower (107 kilowatts) and 200 pound-feet (271 Newton-meters). Acceleration to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) takes 9.6 seconds.

Rotary engine shifting in the MX-30 R-EV is not yet available. It’s also unclear whether Mazda will increase the electric motor’s output to compensate for the additional engine weight.

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In 2020, Mazda said an MX-30 with a rotary range extender is being considered. The company made plans official later that year. In 2021, the manufacturer intends to offer this EV variant in the US.

Mazda and Wankel engines have a close relationship. The company originally licensed the technology from NSU, and engineers at the Japanese company worked to improve the power plant. The Cosmo made its debut at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show as the premiere rotary-powered Mazda. Full production did not begin until 1967. Models such as the RX-3 and RX-7 made the rotary more accessible.

However, fuel consumption and exhaust emissions from the rotary remain important points throughout the life of the engine. These factors were one of the reasons why the RX-8, the last Wankel car available to Mazda customers, disappeared in 2012.

Mazda engineers have never given up on the rotary. We’ve looked at various patents and heard rumors about continuing development of the Wankel over the years.

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