Mazda To Use New Rotary Engine as an Electric Car Range Extender

Colin
By Colin Wood
Oct 8, 2020 | Mazda, rotary, electric, MX-30

The RX-8 marked the end of the rotary engine as we knew it, but Mazda's newest all-electric car is planning to bring it back—this time as a range extender.

The Mazda MX-30 crossover is set to go on sale soon in select markets—i.e., not North America—beginning as a hybrid that will later be offered as an all-electric vehicle.

It's that electric version that will get a yet-to-be-discussed rotary engine that will be used as a range extender, similar to the optional one that could be had in the BMW i3.

Specifics about the engine has not yet been released, but in this video Mazda CEO Akira Marumoto confirms that a rotary range extender will be available in the upcoming electric MX-30. He mentions that fact around the 7:30 mark, and those not fluent in Japanese should be able to get auto-translate subtitles to work.


As of now, there are no official plans to bring the MX-30 to North America, but the fact that Mazda is using the rotary once again—even as a range extender in an electric vehicle—could make rotary fans happy. 

We'll have to wait and see what Mazda has in store for the iconic engine.

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Comments
Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/8/20 2:43 p.m.

Assuming the intent is to use the engine to power a generator that would in turn provide power to the batteries, it makes sense.  A small, lightweight and compact engine operating at a fixed RPM sounds like something a rotary could be good for.

fidelity101 (Forum Supporter)
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/8/20 3:15 p.m.

that interior is simply stunning. 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/8/20 3:20 p.m.

I don't think that will produce the fuel economy consummate with an economical vehicle, and honestly I don't think it's necessary anymore.

 

The interior looks great, though.

 

Now call it a BEV Mazda 3 hatch with around 300 miles range and I'm in.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/8/20 4:01 p.m.

Right, who on here is going to be the first to bridge port the range extender?

j_tso
j_tso Reader
10/8/20 4:27 p.m.

Sweet. Can we have a 4 rotor back in IMSA now?

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 Reader
10/8/20 4:37 p.m.
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) said:

that interior is simply stunning. 

"This trim level only available on the "Or should I buy a porsche" special edition." 

Snrub
Snrub HalfDork
10/8/20 4:44 p.m.
tuna55 said:

I don't think that will produce the fuel economy consummate with an economical vehicle, and honestly I don't think it's necessary anymore.

Theoretically a rotary engine can make good fuel economy at a fixed RPM. I guess part of the question is, if "long range" is a moderate, rather than infrequent driving need, does it cost less to have a big battery, or a range extender ICE generator? Does anyone who purchases in this space, truly care about really long range, or the cost/benefit analysis? Is a 1 rotor engine really a better choice than say a 3-cyl? I suspect the rotary is in there for marketing, not because it truely makes commercial sense in this case. The last Mazda rotaries were still hand built.

As you elude to, I think all of the "range extender" electric vehicles like the Volt and i3 have been commercial flops. To take it a step further, has any non-telsa EV, and non-hybrid been a success so far? Early indications are the Porsche Taycan may be the only other one.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/8/20 10:26 p.m.
tuna55 said:

I don't think that will produce the fuel economy consummate with an economical vehicle, and honestly I don't think it's necessary anymore.

A Wankel at full load can have a BSFC around .40 lb/hp/hr.  Where the reputation for thirstiness comes from is that they absolutely suck for BSFC at low load, which is where practically all on-road driving is.

 

 

MrJoshua
MrJoshua UltimaDork
10/8/20 10:34 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
tuna55 said:

I don't think that will produce the fuel economy consummate with an economical vehicle, and honestly I don't think it's necessary anymore.

A Wankel at full load can have a BSFC around .40 lb/hp/hr.  Where the reputation for thirstiness comes from is that they absolutely suck for BSFC at low load, which is where practically all on-road driving is.

 

 

On the lowest octane gas you can stir up IIRC.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/8/20 10:44 p.m.

I'm mildly surprised it took Mazda this long to think of this.  I remember reading about a couple companies that were using Wankel engines for small energy generation as far back as a decade ago.  Little tiny things, no bigger than your hand all the way up to "normal" sized ones.

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