Mazda MX-30 R-EV: rotary engine serving plug-in hybrid

Mazda MX-30 R-EV: rotary engine serving plug-in hybrid

What do the Mazda Cosmo, RX-7, RX-8 and 748B have in common? All these models had the famous rotary or twin-rotor engine invented in 1929 by the engineer Félix Wankel, who developed it on behalf of the German NSU in 1951. But because of the high CO2 emissions and therefore As a result, the production of the rotary engine they ended in 2012.

However Mazda did not give up on using its twin rotor engine again. In addition, in 2012, during the Moscow motor show, Takashi Yamanouchi, the director of Mazda, announced to our colleagues. PistonHeads that the rotary engine was far from dead and buried: “I joined Mazda in 1967 and what motivated me was the rotary engine […]. And in my current position, I am committed to further engine development“. However, the end dashed the last hope of aficionados of this engine: “The rotary engine has very good power performance, but not very good in terms of economy during acceleration and deceleration. However, by expanding the range, you can run the rotary engine at a constant 2000 rpm, for its best performance. It is also compact“. (source: PistonHeads)

Principle of operation of the Wankel engine

© Y_tambe – CC BY-SA 4.0

Ten years later, Takashi Yamanouchi’s promise comes true with the return of a new rotary engine as a range extender, as he predicted.

This extension (or column extender), the technical characteristics of which are unknown, will be connected to the electric SUV MX-30, which appeared in 2020. If we mention the Mazda 2 Range Extender model of 2013, the rotary motor does not drive the wheels, but instead serves as a recharging generator battery. The advantage of such a motor is its rigidity and weight.


At the Tokyo Motor Show in 2019, Mazda presented its first electric car, the MX-30.

© Erick Fontaine / Lesnumériques

This new electric SUV, called the MX-30 R-EV, will be officially presented on Friday January 13, 2023 at the Brussels Motor Show. In addition, Mazda unveiled a new logo: an “e” inside a triangle, referring to the shape of the rotating engine.

The contribution of this extension will compensate for the lack of freedom of the previous one MX-30, whose technical sheet announced 200 km in mixed use and 262 km in urban use, according to the WLTP cycle. During our road tests, we measured 180 kilometers of autonomy.

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