Mazda has a rich history with rotary engines, having produced almost two million of them since the iconic Mazda Cosmo in 1967. However, it’s been a decade since the last rotary-engine Mazda, the RX-8, left the scene in 2012. The arrival of the new MX-30 R-EV marks the return of the rotary powertrain. Still, for fans of the high-revving, fuel-guzzling rotary engines of old, this new iteration may not be what they had hoped for.
The MX-30 R-EV isn’t designed for screaming redlines or excessive fuel consumption. Instead, it focuses on efficient hybrid operation. The decision to use a rotary engine for this purpose is an interesting one, given the compact space under the hood, originally designed for a battery electric vehicle (BEV) system. However, it’s a unique and innovative approach in 2023.
As a range-extender plug-in hybrid, the MX-30 R-EV addresses one of the main limitations of the standard MX-30 EV: its limited range. The R-EV features a smaller 17.8kWh battery, which provides 85km of all-electric driving range, significantly better than the full-electric version. The total range with the rotary engine’s assistance exceeds 640km.
The interior quality and design, including distinctive features like cork trim and rear-hinged rear doors, are carried over from the standard MX-30 EV. The interior of the MX-30 is mature, equipped with functional features, although some users find the climate controls challenging to operate via the low-placed seven-inch screen on the center console.
All MX-30 variants come well-equipped with various standard features, including adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, LED lighting, and smartphone connectivity. Charging the MX-30 R-EV can be done from 20% to 80% in about 25 minutes on a 50kW charger, and the rotary generator efficiently helps recharge the battery while driving.
The rotary engine in the MX-30 R-EV is a single rotor with a new compression ratio focused on efficiency. This compact rotary engine is lighter than the old RX-8’s rotor and contributes to better handling, aligning it with the EV’s performance.
On twisty roads, the MX-30 R-EV offers a similar driving experience to the EV, with good front-end grip and confident steering. The plug-in hybrid system adds 131kg to the weight but doesn’t significantly affect the ride quality.
The decision to introduce the MX-30 R-EV at a price similar to the standard EV may suggest that Mazda views the electric model as less successful in terms of sales. The addition of the plug-in hybrid variant with a more practical driving range makes it a more compelling option.
Mazda claims an impressive fuel efficiency of 1L/100km, though real-world figures may vary. The key improvement is the extended battery range, even after the battery percentage reaches zero.
While the MX-30 R-EV is a welcome return of the rotary, Mazda enthusiasts may be hoping for even more exciting applications of this technology in the future.
In summary, the MX-30 R-EV addresses one of the main drawbacks of the standard MX-30 by offering a significantly longer driving range. However, it still has some limitations, particularly with its rear seats. The reintroduction of the rotary engine in this context is promising, and one can only hope for more exciting applications down the road.
|History of Rotary Engines||Mazda has produced nearly two million rotary engines since the introduction of the Mazda Cosmo in 1967.|
|Previous Rotary Models||The last rotary-engine Mazda, the RX-8, ceased production in 2012.|
|MX-30 R-EV’s Purpose||The MX-30 R-EV is designed as a range-extender plug-in hybrid to address the limited range of the standard MX-30 EV.|
|Powertrain||It features a smaller 17.8kWh battery, providing 85km of all-electric driving range and a total range exceeding 640km with the assistance of the rotary engine.|
|Interior Design||The interior quality and design are similar to the standard MX-30 EV, featuring cork trim and rear-hinged rear doors.|
|Standard Features||All MX-30 variants come well-equipped with features such as adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, LED lighting, and smartphone connectivity.|
|Charging Efficiency||Charging the MX-30 R-EV from 20% to 80% can be done in about 25 minutes on a 50kW charger.|
|Rotary Engine Characteristics||The rotary engine in the MX-30 R-EV is a single rotor with a new compression ratio focused on efficiency.|
|Handling and Performance||On twisty roads, the MX-30 R-EV offers a similar driving experience to the EV with good front-end grip and confident steering. The plug-in hybrid system adds 131kg to the weight but doesn’t significantly affect the ride quality.|
|Pricing Strategy||The MX-30 R-EV is priced similarly to the standard EV, possibly indicating that Mazda views the electric model as less successful in terms of sales.|
|Fuel Efficiency||Mazda claims an impressive fuel efficiency of 1L/100km, though real-world figures may vary.|
|Future Expectations||While the MX-30 R-EV marks the return of the rotary, enthusiasts hope for more exciting applications of this technology in the future.|
|Summary||The MX-30 R-EV addresses the main drawback of the standard MX-30 by offering a significantly longer driving range. It also improves upon its predecessor in terms of practicality. Mazda’s reintroduction of the rotary engine is promising for potential future applications.|