U.S. launch of Mazda MX-30 Range Extender with rotary engine confirmed

The Mazda MX-30 EV U.S. launch occurs this fall, and Mazda dealerships in California get them first. A Mazda MX-30 Range Extender with a rotary engine is in the works, and that variant will also be launched in the U.S. but later.

“The battery-powered MX-30 will begin the introduction of additional electrified models, including a series plug-in hybrid with a rotary generator for MX-30, a plug-in hybrid for our new large platform,” Jeff Guyton, President, Mazda (North America), said in an announcement about the company’s electrification strategy in the region on April 14. Guyton added that the new Mazda rotary engine for serving as a generator in the MX-30 EV will have a “nearly silent operation.”

Guyton had already confirmed that the MX-30 range extender for the U.S. market in December 2020, while speaking to thedetroitbureau. He had said that the range extender variant (with the higher travel range) would be “more appropriate” for American buyers.

The Mazda MX-30 EV’s 200-km (124-mile) range in the WLTP cycle could be driving a lot of potential customers away from showrooms. However, the Mazda MX-30 Range Extender with the company’s rotary engine will arrive in 2022 to overcome that limitation, a Nikkei report said in December last year.

Suppliers involved in the Mazda MX-30 Range Extender’s development told Nikkei that Mazda wants to double the range of the MX-30 EV to 400 km (249 miles) with the assistance of the rotary engine. The MX-30 EV has a 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that feeds an electric motor at the front axle. The motor generates 107 kW (144 horsepower) and 271 Nm (200 pound-feet) of torque. The battery pack can be fast-charged to 80% SoC in approximately 36 minutes. Mazda is tying up with ChargePoint to offer charging solutions for customers in the U.S.

Video Source: youtube.com/fullychargedshow

The Mazda MX-30 is off to a quiet start in the Japanese market. Initially, the gasoline mild-hybrid variant has fallen short of the sales target (with just 50 percent met), and according to a Mazda vendor, the freestyle doors are “a significant issue,” Nikkei reported.

Opening the split doors in narrow parking spaces is inconvenient, as reported in the financial publication. Moreover, the doors are heavier, because of which women, particularly those having children, could be giving the MX-30 a thumbs down. The EV variant adds low range (and thus range anxiety) to the list of reasons one wouldn’t want a Mazda MX-30. However, a fix is coming to address the last issue, but it won’t be a bigger battery. Instead, a gasoline tank and a Mazda rotary engine would be introduced to serve as a range extender for the Mazda MX-30 electric SUV.

The Mazda MX-30 EV Range Extender was confirmed last year as part of the brand’s centenary celebration. In a book called “Mazda Centenary – 100 years of a Japanese Success Story”, Mazda confirmed the highly anticipated return of its rotary engine, but not in a supercar or a halo model:

As a range extender for electric vehicles, the rotary engine will continue to carry the torch for this (never stop challenging) spirit into the future.

Revealing that the MX-30 will mark the return of the rotary engine, Mazda said that “the MX-30 will be the car heralding the renaissance of rotary engines in Mazda cars.”

Mazda has its reasons for employing the rotary engine in the MX-30 electric SUV. It is compact and significantly lighter than a comparable reciprocating engine and can easily be integrated into an EV. The “unparalleled smoothness and quietness of operation” because of its unique working principle would ensure that the fitment of a gas-powered engine doesn’t take away the calm and comfortable EV driving experience from the MX-30 EV.

The Mazda MX-30 Range Extender with Mazda rotary engine will debut in the first half of 2022, Nikkei reported and could be a selling point that brings back Mazda fans into the brand’s dealer showrooms.