Mazda Confirms Rotary Range Extender For Plug-in MX-30 Coming This Year

Mazda Confirms Rotary Range Extender For Plug-in MX-30 Coming This Year

After years of teasing enthusiasts, Mazda has confirmed that its famed Rotary powerplant will return in the US, though not as a standalone engine, but as part of the plug-in hybrid system of the MX-30 later this year. The engine won’t be sending power to the wheels directly, but instead used as a range extender.

Rumors of the engine returning to market have been swirling ever since the fully-electric MX-30 debuted at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Show, with Mazda confirming, then putting a hold on its availability. According to Automotive News, the original plan was for the engine to go on sale in the first half of the 2019 fiscal year, but the brand instead decided to introduce a plug-in hybrid.

The MX-30 is currently available as a fully electric vehicle in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia. A plug-in hybrid version with a rotary range extender will make the vehicle dramatically more usable, as it currently only has a 124-mile range according to the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure standard.

Read More: Mazda’s Solution For The MX-30’s Low Range? Owning Another Car

A range extender is different than a regular plug-in hybrid because the engine never sends power to any of the wheels. Instead, the engine solely recharges the batteries that power the electric motors. Vehicles with range extenders typically have larger, more expensive batteries, but the engines run less often than plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Mazda says that the rotary engine is perfectly suited for electrified powerplants because of its small size. The engine is really only there as a backup for when the battery is depleted, meaning full trips could be made without it ever turning on.

The move is one of the first steps the brand has taken toward its goal to make all of its vehicles electric by 2030.

The Rotary powerplant left the market in 2012 due to slow sales of the RX-8, but returned in concept form as a range extender in 2013. The gasoline-powered 0.33-liter engine powered a prototype Mazda2 with electric motors and was dubbed the Rotary Engine Range Extender.

Note: Mazda MX-30 EV pictured

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