The rotary is back, but this time the 0.8-liter gasoline engine with a single rotor acts as a generator to charge the battery.
With its first rotary engine since the RX-8 sports car, Mazda has devised a novel solution to the MX-30 EV's limited range. The brand-new Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV is a plug-in hybrid that has a small gasoline engine with one rotor that acts as a generator to charge the battery pack and make it possible to drive for longer distances.
• The e-Skyactiv R-EV is a plug-in hybrid version of the Mazda MX-30 that has been shown off.
• To increase the car's driving range, it adds a 13-gallon fuel tank and a small rotary engine that doubles as a generator.
• The R-EV version's availability in the United States is unknown at this time.
Mazda reduced the size of the lithium-ion battery pack because the R-EV has a lithium-ion pack that is 17.8 kWh in size, whereas the EV version has a pack that is approximately 32.0-kWh in size. According to WLTP, this enables it to travel just 85 kilometres on a single charge. However, the 830-cc 74-hp rotary engine kicks in to provide charge while the vehicle is moving when the battery is depleted. Although the Mazda's 39 litres fuel tank is larger than those of other "range-extender" vehicles like the BMW i3 and Chevy Volt, Mazda has not provided an estimate of the vehicle's longer range that takes into account the gasoline engine's range increase.
The electric motor in the R-EV is also stronger than the one in the EV version, delivering 167 horsepower to the front wheels. Mazda claims that it can reach 100 km/h in 9.1 seconds, which is roughly equivalent to the acceleration of the EV version, which is already sluggish. In our testing, the 1666 kg MX-30 EV reached 100 km/h in 8.7 seconds. The R-EV's 24 additional horsepower would likely be offset by the rotary's additional weight, as the claimed curb weight is 1778 kg.
Except for the different wheel designs and badges, the MX-30 R-EV and the EV are virtually identical in appearance. There are a few unique color options available from Mazda, and the Edition R trim level plays up the rotary theme with embroidered logos on the floor mats and seats.