Mazda Australia showrooms are set to have a rotary-engine-toting vehicle in them as soon as later this year – but it’s not a reborn RX-7 or Cosmo.
It’ll instead be the on-again, off-again (allegedly) MX-30 series range-extender EV, replete with a small, petrol-fuelled rotary generator to charge the battery and extend driving range.
Mazda’s US marketing materials refer to the imminent MX-30 rotary range-extender specifically as a ‘series plug-in hybrid’, suggesting it’ll operate rather like a BMW i3 REx – meaning the rotary engine charges the battery rather than drives the wheels.
Mazda has been talking about its plans for a MX-30 with rotary generator for some time now, something for those who can’t live with the full EV’s modest 200km (WLTP) driving range.
We recently spoke with Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak about the local plans for the MX-30 range-extender rotary, and the answer was positive for local buyers who want an even quirkier Mazda offering.
“It will be unveiled this year. The plan is to have it here this year,” he said, though cautioning current supply issues mean this could be pushed to 2023.
“It’s definitely getting very close to production, pretty much the development is done on the car. We’re excited.
“… It will be a unique proposition, having a new rotary engine’s always exciting. Hopefully it’s not too many more months before it gets talked about publicly, and we can go from there.”
Of course, it won’t be cheap, since the MX-30 EV itself costs $65,490 before on-road costs (about $71,000 drive-away). If the series PHEV version retains the same battery and adds the new rotary generator, it’ll add cost, though potentially Mazda might use a smaller pack.
It’ll mean the MX-30 will have three drivetrain choices: the base petrol (labelled as a mild-hybrid), EV, and series PHEV.
Once Mazda has a rotary-generator-fired, range-extender, series PHEV MX-30, it’ll also have an even more eccentric line-up that it currently does.
It already sells the unique SkyActiv-X petrol engine with spark-guided compression ignition, and will have a rear-drive in-line six and a conventional PHEV offering soon in the CX-60.