For the better part of a decade, since Mazda killed off the RX-8, enthusiasts have been hoping for the rotary engine to make a triumphant comeback. The automaker did confirm the iconic, high-revving powerplant would return, but not exactly where you may expect it. Instead, the new electric Mazda MX-30 will host a rotary engine instead of a next-generation RX sports car.
Yes, the rotary engine will be used in an EV, this time as a range extender. This vehicle is not coming to America (nor is its pure-EV variant), but the unit will make its way into Japanese production models. The automaker plans to have full production units on Japanese roads by 2022.
Mazda released a video (in Japanese, with somewhat clunky English subtitles) showing the MX-30 and its development below, as spotted by our friends at Autoblog:
Oh its own, the Mazda MX-30’s motor is a 141 horsepower unit tied to a 35.5-kWh battery. That allows for a range of up to 130 miles, while the range extender should add a fair amount to that figure. At this point, no technical specs are available on the rotary engine, but we may hear more on that in the coming months. While even the pure-electric version isn’t coming to the U.S. (it is available in Europe, as well as Japan), it’s good for some to know that Felix Wankel’s brainchild lives on, in some form.
Speaking of the RX series, we should (hopefully) see some iteration of its next-generation sports car in a short while. It will not use a rotary engine, but instead may house a straight-six version of Mazda’s SkyActiv-G piston engine. And the Mazda3 will get a turbo, so there’s still some good news coming for American Mazda enthusiasts.