Mazda MX-30 Range Extender with rotary engine to launch in 2022

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 the Japanese brand’s showrooms. A Mazda MX-30 Range Extender with the company’s rotary engine will arrive in 2022 to overcome that limitation, as per a new Nikkei report.

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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 per cent met), and according to a Mazda vendor, the freestyle doors are “a significant issue,” reports Nikkei.

Opening the split doors in parking spaces that are narrow 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.

Mazda MX-30 EV electric rear quarters
Confirming a modern-day rotary engine, Mazda stated that the plan is to offer it as a range extender for the electric powertrain of its SUV. Image Source: Mazda

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 be integrated into an EV easily. 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.

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 Mazda MX-30 Range Extender with Mazda rotary engine will debut in the first half of 2022, reports Nikkei, and could be a selling point that brings back Mazda fans into the brand’s dealer showrooms. Jeff Guyton, the president of Mazda’s North American division confirmed to last month that the MX-30 range extender is coming to the U.S. market. He says that the range extender variant (with the higher travel range) would be “more appropriate” for American buyers but did not provide a firm launch date.